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Another look at Orientalism : Western literature in the face of Islam Tastekin, Emel 2011

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ANOTHER LOOK AT ORIENTALISM: WESTERN LITERATURE IN THE FACE OF ISLAM by EMEL TASTEKIN B.A., Middle East Technical University, Turkey, 1995 M.A., University of Hanover, Germany, 2000  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (English)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2011  © Emel Tastekin, 2011  ABSTRACT Another Look at Orientalism seeks to establish a genealogical link between the fields of literary criticism and Islamic studies through a case study of the Qur’anic scholarship of Abraham Geiger (1810-1874). Responding to Edward Said’s thesis in Orientalism (1978), which polemically subordinates all Orientalist scholarship of the nineteenth century to some form of imperialist motive, this dissertation argues that Geiger, as a member of the Jewish diaspora in a German-speaking land, reacted against the Christian bias in the philological scholarship of his time by highlighting the heading “Abrahamic” in his work Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? (1833). I see Geiger’s work as one of the first attempts to critique the internal imperialism of Western/European culture and, as such, a precursor of comparative and postcolonial literary studies of the twentieth century. From a theoretical angle, I combine Jacques Derrida’s philosophy, particularly on “Abrahamic hospitality” and “exemplarity,” with perspectives drawn from diaspora and postcolonial studies, such as those of Aamir Mufti, Jonathan and Daniel Boyarin, Sander Gilman, Susannah Heschel and Amos Funkenstein. The aim is to show that Geiger’s pioneering influence on the “objective” study of Islam—however motivated by his defence of Judaism in face of Christianity—should be seen as a gesture of hospitality towards Islam. I ultimately argue that Islam was not always exterior but also implicated in the construction of modern European identity. In the first chapter, I show how the corroboration of a Judaeo-Christian essence in Western literary criticism, particularly in the works of canonical critics like Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach, was informed by the nineteenth-century background of the “Jewish question.” In the second chapter, I trace how postmodern Jewish theory, as influenced by Derrida’s  ii  philosophy, has contended with the supersessionist and hegemonic implications of the JudaeoChristian “hyphen.” Next, I turn to my case study of Abraham Geiger and contextualize his work with respect to the methods of German Orientalism and in relation to the German-Jewish emancipation struggle. I then analyze Geiger’s Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? in the light of Derrida’s philosophy of exemplarity and hospitality, as explained in Chapter Two.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS   ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................................................ii TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................................................................... iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................................................................ v DEDICATION ...........................................................................................................................................................vii INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................................... 1 CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL CONTEXTS ..................................................................................................................... 4 THEORETICAL FRAMING .......................................................................................................................................... 13 SIGNIFICANCE.......................................................................................................................................................... 17 CHAPTER ONE: Edward Said on Culture and the Western Canon, or How the Judaeo-Christian View Came to Dominate Modern Literary Criticism .......................................................................................................................... 20 MATTHEW ARNOLD THE ORIENTALIST.................................................................................................................... 26 Said on Arnold’s Orientalism ............................................................................................................................ 26 The Hospitality in Arnold’s Dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism ................................................................... 33 Lionel Trilling’s Admiration for Matthew Arnold ............................................................................................. 42 ERICH AUERBACH: FROM WESTERN CANON TO WORLD LITERATURE .................................................................... 50 Auerbach the Exemplary Critic at the Limits..................................................................................................... 52 The Hegemony of Erich Auerbach’s Western Canon in Mimesis ...................................................................... 61 The “Oriental” Location of Auerbach’s Exile.................................................................................................... 65 The Harmonious Tension between Hebrew and Hellene in “Odysseus’ Scar” .................................................. 69 CHAPTER TWO: Unsettling the Judaeo-Christian Hyphen..................................................................................... 83 FORMS OF JEWISH DIFFERENCE ............................................................................................................................... 91 Textuality ........................................................................................................................................................... 91 Historicity ........................................................................................................................................................ 101 Materiality ........................................................................................................................................................ 113 DECONSTRUCTION AS AN OPENING TOWARDS ISLAM ............................................................................................ 122 Derrida and Islam............................................................................................................................................. 123 Deconstructive Exemplarity and Hospitality ................................................................................................... 138 CHAPTER THREE: German-Jewish Scholarship on Islam: Abraham Geiger in his Contexts.............................. 161 THE DEVELOPMENT AND PREDICAMENT OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY GERMAN ORIENTALISM ............................... 164 The Emergence of the Historical-Philological Method: Vico and Herder ....................................................... 164 The Rise of Historical Philology in German Universities ................................................................................ 180 The Predicament of German Orientalism ........................................................................................................ 189 THE “GERMAN-JEWISH INTELLECTUAL PSYCHE” AND THE ORIENTALIZATION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY ................... 195 Judaism during the Aufklärung: The Dialogue between Kant and Mendlessohn ............................................ 198 Romantic Nationalism and the Radical Difference of the Jew......................................................................... 211 Liberal-Protestant Old Testament Criticism versus Wissenschaft des Judentums ........................................... 218 HOSPITALITY TOWARDS ISLAM IN ABRAHAM GEIGER’S WAS HAT MOHAMMED AUS DEM JUDENTHUME AUFGENOMMEN? .................................................................................................................................................... 232 Abraham Geiger and the German-Jewish Interest in Islam ............................................................................. 235 Geiger’s Representation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in WMJ .............................................................. 252 EPILOGUE .............................................................................................................................................................. 272 WORKS CITED ...................................................................................................................................................... 282   iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS It is a pleasure to thank those who made this thesis possible: my friends and colleagues in the UBC Department of English for their intellectual insights and encouragement, and my family for the moral support throughout the years I have worked on this project. I am particularly grateful for the exceptional guidance of my supervisory committee. Special thanks is reserved for my supervisor Professor Mark Vessey, who enthusiastically supported a project that might have appeared too ambitious to others. His exceptionally generous support, incisive and expedient response to my writing accounts for all that is good about my project. I would like to thank Professor Lorraine Weir for helping me develop my own theoretical terms. She not only provided insightful feedback on my project, but also advised me on every aspect of academic life. I am sincerely thankful to Professor Andrew Rippin, who across disciplines and the Straight of Georgia expressed enthusiasm in what I do, constantly replenishing me with news and publications from the field of Islamic Studies. I would also like to thank Professor Stephen Taubeneck, whom I will always remember for “teaching” me Derrida’s philosophy. His attention to my project from afar has always flattered and encouraged me. This project would not have been completed, if it were not for the collegial and supportive atmosphere among the graduate student community in the English Department. The inspiring, collective procrastinations in the Reading Room and the sincere conversations over “strawberry beers” made me realize how lucky I was for having found a home on the other side of the world. I am particularly grateful for the hospitality of Christine Steward, Shurli Makmillan, Laila Ferreira, Sarah Banting, Maia Joseph, Victoria Killington, Kathryn Grafton,  v  Greg Morgan, Michelle Riedlinger, Stephen Ney and Bettina Stumm—who all read and commented on this thesis at some point. For stimulating conversations and limitless philosophizing, I would like to thank Floyd Dunphy and Meliz Ergin. Special thanks go to Katja Thieme, not only for generously proofreading this thesis, but also for her exceptional friendship. Our graduate secretary, Louise Soga, I would like to thank for being more than just a bureaucratic saviour. This project was made possible with the financial support of a Canada Graduate Scholarship, granted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I am also grateful for the support of my colleagues in the UBC Arts Studies in Research and Writing program, which was the best way imaginable of entering a career in academic teaching. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to my families in Germany, Turkey, Great Britain and Washington State for believing in me. My deepest gratitude is reserved for my husband Matthew Morgan, who with patience and nourishing love supported me throughout the writing process. But most of all, I am grateful to my son Marlo Ali for filling my life with his endless cheer and sunshine.  vi  DEDICATION  In memory of Özgür and Özgür  vii  INTRODUCTION [O]ur common ‘culture,’ let’s be frank, is more manifestly Christian, barely even JudaeoChristian. No Muslim is among us […] just at the moment when it is towards Islam, perhaps, that we ought to begin by turning our attention. (Derrida, “Faith and Knowledge” 45) A wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite; endless iterations, long-windedness, entanglement; most crude, incondite;—insupportable stupidity, in short! Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through the Koran, […] yet natural stupidity is by no means the character of Mahomet’s Book; it is natural uncultivation rather. (Carlyle 76)  These two passages present two aspects of the same diagnosis, namely, that Islam and its sacred text, the Qur’an, have been politically, culturally and aesthetically othered within Western culture at least since the Enlightenment. Western literary criticism today, as far as it recognizes its own affinities with Judaeo-Christian scriptural traditions, is indeed marked by a curious absence of the topic of Islam and its primary texts. Derrida, for instance, characterizes this “institution of literature” as the product of a distinctly Christian, Western sensibility, associated with the Enlightenment values of democracy, secularism and critical thinking, as our “hope” and as the site of endless possibilities, including those of democracy and of responsibility toward the Other. He provocatively asks whether “there exists, in the strict literal meaning of the word, something like literature and a right to literature in non-Latin-Roman-Christian culture and, more generally […], non-European cultures” (Demeure 21-3). Elsewhere, notably in the colloquy on “Faith and Knowledge,” from which the opening quotation is taken, he interrogates the conventional opposition of Judaeo-Christian versus Muslim within the triad of the “Abrahamic” faiths. Rather than simply confirming an incommensurability between Western values and Islamic culture, Derrida’s comments have prompted me to reconsider the nature and responsibility of modern literary scholarship in the face of Islam. Derrida made me wonder: How  1  and when did our modern discourses of literature settle on an image of Islam as irreconcilable with “the right to say everything” (Derrida, On the Name 28)? Was Islam always exterior to the construction of modern European identity, or did the reception of its texts and traditions at a point in history influence how Europe and its “literature” defined itself? This dissertation aims to scrutinize the othering or exteriorizing of Islam from the cultural sphere called “Europe.” It does this by searching for a historical horizon for an involvement of Islamic hermeneutics in the shaping of Western literary criticism via the Qur’anic scholarship of nineteenth-century German-Jewish scholars, in the hope of bringing attention to a neglected and severed genealogy within the cultural identity of Europe. In my investigation of the case of the German-Jewish scholar Abraham Geiger (1810-1874), I show that the special circumstances of certain Jewish scholars of Islam working in the European intellectual sphere, especially within the German tradition of historical philology, led to the creation of a more sympathetic or at least more neutral account of Islam. These scholars elevated Islam’s image from being a Christian heresy to that of a monotheistic world religion. At the same time, their minority position and subversion of the inner hegemony of German scholarship rule out the “imperialistic” motivations that Edward Said argues were in play in the disparaging and exoticizing representation of Islam in the nineteenth century (Said, Orientalism). In fact, I want to claim that the German-Jewish scholarship on Islam might have had the exactly opposite function, namely of freeing both Judaism and Islam from the internal imperialism of Western/Anglo-Saxon cultural supremacy by demonstrating the heterogeneous influences behind what we call European identity. Geiger in virtue of his diasporic Jewish position, for example, elevated the categories “Abrahamic” and “Semitic” above those of Indo-European, Hellenic, and Protestant that were favoured among Christian scholars at the time by suggesting a historical allegiance between Islam and Judaism in  2  Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? (1833) [What did Muhammad take form Judaism?]. This work, which is commonly considered the first example of modern scholarship on the Qur’an,1 provides the case study of this dissertation. I will argue that Geiger’s pioneering influence on the comparative and “objective” study of the three Abrahamic religions, and the close attention he paid to Islam, should be seen as a gesture of hospitality towards Islam and an early warning of the hegemonic character of Western culture and epistemology. This project not only draws attention to the hospitality towards Islam in Geiger’s Qur’anic scholarship, but it also aims to scrutinize Western literary criticism’s affinity with the Judaeo-Christian tradition via literary appropriations of the Bible—both in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century—and the resulting othering of the third monotheism, Islam, its sacred text and its interpretive traditions. My investigation ranges from the emergence of the historical-philological study of the Bible in the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment periods in Germany—as the intellectual backgrounds of Geiger—to the corroboration of a Judaeo-Christian essence in Western literature in the works of canonical critics like Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach. I further trace how postmodern Jewish theory, influenced by Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction, has contended with the supersessionist and hegemonic implications of the Judaeo-Christian “hyphen.” The Jewish emancipation struggle and intellectual anti-Semitism of the nineteenth century in Germany and Britain, and the persecution and dispersion of Jewish populations after World War II, are emphasized as the common social and political backgrounds for the developments in literary and interpretive history accounted for here. The Jewish minority subversion of the assimilative and hegemonic European host culture  1  For Geiger’s pioneering influence in the field, see Andrew Rippin’s “Introduction” to Qur’an: Style and Content (xi-xii), and W. M. Watt’s Bell’s Introduction to the Qur’an (184).  3  prompt the main theoretical claim of this project. The claim is based on a Derridean theory that sees the identities of the host and guest in a relation of hospitality, including that of state hospitality, as unstable and imbricated rather than essential and oppositional. Geiger’s use of the German host society’s discursive practices, namely “disinterested” scholarship, for asserting the validity of his own Jewish identity and in effect the monotheistic value of Islam creates a fissure within European culture and an opening towards its religious Others. The changes that Geiger brought to the ways in which Judaism and Islam were henceforth perceived, at least within the fields of biblical and Orientalist scholarship, testify that European identity, which in this study is limited to German and British examples, does not just consist of a systematic othering and exteriorizing of the non-Christian monotheisms. In contrast, it shows us that Europe as host culture is constantly challenged and re-defined by the ethnic differences it bears within itself, as the case of the Jewish minority challenge to European culture and thought shows. I offer Derrida’s philosophy of deconstructive hospitality and exemplarity as a theoretical model for this project and as a corrective to Said’s thesis on Orientalism, which tends to depict Europe as a monolithic and homogeneous entity. It will be seen that Islam, via its Jewish adaptations in the nineteenth century, was dialectically involved in the making of a European identity. This identity is, of course, also challenged today by Muslim minorities within Europe.  CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL CONTEXTS Besides Derrida’s provocative observations on the Western literary institution, cited above, there are two further instances in the history of Western literary criticism that prompted this project.  4  The first is related to the inner development of literary criticism in its affinities with scriptural, particularly biblical, interpretation. The literary critical tradition within Western Anglo-American academia since the nineteenth century assumes that there is a deep bond between Western literature and the Bible but not with the Qur’an, even though the latter claims to be an extension, if only a correctional one, of the previous two biblical traditions. It seems that the Qur’an, as indicated by Carlyle in the passage quoted above, found a more comfortable place within a form of cultural study that was dedicated to the “dutiful” appreciation of “natural uncultivation,” rather than occupying a place in humanistic high culture as defined by Victorian cultural critics, such as Matthew Arnold. By contrast, the Bible, since Blake, Coleridge and Arnold in Britain, has been used to define and refine literary sensibility, as well as to undergird the aesthetic and ethical value of literature. Western literary criticism’s affiliation with the methods of nineteenth-century secular biblical criticism, also referred to as Higher Criticism, has been treated in critical works such as Hans W. Frei’s The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics (1974), Elinor Shaffer’s “Kubla Khan” and “The Fall of Jerusalem”: The Mythological School in Biblical Criticism and Secular Literature, 1770-1880 (1975), and in the works of Northrop Frye, M.H. Abrams and Stephen Prickett on Romantic literary theory. Blake’s aphorism “the Old and New Testaments are the Great Code of Art” is representative of Romantic literature’s secularizing effect on the reading of the Bible. However, such views of the Bible also served to sacralize literary and artistic sensibility. They thus reinforced Eurocentric high culture. When we look more closely at generative moments of literary criticism in nineteenth-century Britain—and this is largely true for Germany as well—we notice that the Christian Bible, and by association the Hebrew Bible after being stripped from its ethnic and particularistic elements, was adopted into the secular culture of self-cultivation, the  5  Qur’an as an Abrahamic late-comer was not. Therefore, Derrida is right when he notes that “our common culture” as literary critics is “manifestly Christian” with residual Judaic elements. How did this come to be? What genealogy can explain this current state of affairs? Is the history of modern literary criticism merely that of an opposition of the Judaeo-Christian to the Muslim? Besides the critical scholarship on Romantic and Victorian appropriations of the Bible, there is also a line of modern literary critics who recognize a certain affinity with JudaeoChristian theology in the methods of an apparently secular and culturally neutral discipline of literary criticism. The lineage of such awareness stretches from such founders of the discipline of comparative literature as Erich Auerbach and Ernst R. Curtius to more theoretically ambitious critics like Frank Kermode, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hartman. While their interests constellate along the rough axis of Judaeo-Christian/Graeco-Latin (essentially European) texts, and favour consideration of the midrashic or biblical characteristics of modern literature, or conversely, the literary aspects of the Bible, Islam and its interpretive traditions is conspicuously absent. As it appears at the moment, indeed, Western literary criticism is closed to the influence of Islam’s sacred literature and its body of commentaries, except when they are considered relevant to discussions of postcolonial or subaltern identities.2 The effect of this alliance is to create the unfortunate illusion that modern, Western literature has an essential link with the Judaeo-Christian and Graeco-Latin texts and traditions. This project aims to show that such alliances were in fact temporal necessities, forged primarily as part of national and religious identity-building in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. 2  A recent study by Ziad Elmarsafy, The Enlightenment Qur'an: The Politics of Translation and the Construction of Islam (2009), is an exception. Elmarsafy’s argument that German and French Romanticism engaged closely with Qur’an translations and integrated some of their tenets exemplifies the deconstructive reading of Western literary history that the present project is promoting. See also the Epilogue.  6  Although it would be easy to bracket this exclusion of Islam as a sign of Judaeo-Christian bias in literary studies, upon closer scrutiny we notice that the commonly employed hyphenation of “Judaeo-Christian” does in fact carry a significant tension and opposition within itself. Indeed, before Western literary criticism discovered its Judaeo-Christian affinities—with the Bible as common ground—nineteenth-century German-Jewish intellectuals found a Judaeo-Islamic hyphenation more meaningful. The Hebraism /Hellenism dichotomy, for example, has an important place in the critical traditions of the nineteenth century. Originally employed in biblical hermeneutics, the binary was carried over to secular philology during the nineteenth century and turned into a typology for the respectively moral and aesthetic values in a literary work, most prominently by Heinrich Heine in Germany and Matthew Arnold in Britain. The residues of this binary opposition are still visible today within literary theoretical discussions, even when, in some cases, they integrate postcolonial and poststructuralist considerations.3 What often gets overlooked, however, is that in the nineteenth century the “Hebraism” pole stood also for Islam before becoming an exclusive symbol for Judaism. As Maurice Olender argued in The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century (1989), the emphasis on Hebrew and Hellene qualities in literary and historical criticism came out of a complex network of race, religion and language theories, and Hebraism/Hellenism was used interchangeably with another binary—now largely abandoned in the vaults of history—namely that of Indo-European (or Aryan) and Semitic. It was at this critical time of discursive formations that the German-Jewish scholar Abraham Geiger promoted the category “Semitic monotheism” over the Philhellenism and Christian-Protestant bias in contemporary scholarship by suggesting a 3  An example of such a discussion can be found in The Rise of Eurocentrism: Anatomy of Interpretation (1993) by Vassilis Lambropoulos, in which he draws a genealogy for the archetypes of Hebraism and Hellenism in literary interpretation, and claims that Western interpretation, even in its poststructuralist or postcolonialist forms, developed around the internal tension of Hellenic and the Hebraic poles.  7  historical allegiance between Islam and Judaism as a corrective to Christian polytheistic degeneration, in Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? The phenomenon of German-Jewish scholarship on Islam was not a mere accident but was strictly tied to the Jewish emancipation movement and to the ways that the newly emerging nation states were defining their laws of hospitality in the face of their Jewish minorities. Jewish scholars of Islam turned the orientalization of their history as a Semitic tribe by the philological sciences to their advantage by reversing it and presenting the Semitic (or Hebraic, Abrahamic, monotheistic) qualities as the true origins of a European Enlightenment thinking that emphasized a universal ethics (which they defined as “ethical monotheism” instead of Protestant individualism) and cosmopolitanism. Out of this historical allegiance of the Jewish with the Muslim, for example, came the retrospective image of an exemplary cosmopolitanism in Medieval Spain under an Islamic state. In the field of Jewish studies, it was Geiger who first proposed this revisionist image. This “Jewish Philislamism,” as Susannah Heschel calls it, coincided with a tumultuous time in the history of European Jewry, characterized by the possibility of emancipation, integration and assimilation that came with Enlightenment reason and rationalism on the one hand, and by the rise of intellectual anti-Semitism, nativism and nostalgia for a pagan, pre-Christian Europe on the other. Following Geiger, Jewish intellectuals, most prominently in Germany the members of the Wissenschaft des Judentums movement, who were committed to the scientific and historical study of Judaism, and in Britain Benjamin Disraeli and some non-Jewish intellectuals like Arnold and George Eliot, who were supportive of Jewish legal emancipation, promoted the idea that “Hebraism” was an integral part of European character. As a result, the pressure exerted by a Jewish minority presence succeeded in creating alternative discourses on Europe’s identity in the nineteenth century. This state of affairs  8  contrasts with Said’s depiction of a Europe that was imposing a unified identity, based on white, Protestant and Anglo-Saxon supremacy. The second instance in the history of Western literary criticism that prompted this project is Said’s theory on the Orientalism of nineteenth-century European culture and scholarship. I have chosen a case from German-Jewish Orientalism in order to respond to the stigma that has been attached to the academic study of Islam since the publication of Orientalism, in which Said claims that nineteenth-century Orientalist philology served as an imperial vehicle for Christian cultural domination and that current American extensions of the field fulfill a similar function. He ignores German Orientalist scholarship of the nineteenth century entirely, since he is convinced that this scholarship was dependent on the textual sources provided through Britain and France’s imperial ventures in the Middle East and thus cannot be exempt from the effects of imperialism (Orientalism 19). In fact, Said completely ignores the fact that today’s critical scholarship on Islam and the Qur’an—in the non-polemical form in which it is practised in Middle Eastern Studies departments—was inaugurated by Jewish scholars who worked within the tradition of Wissenschaft des Judentums, rather than by the mainly British and French figures that Said puts under anti-imperialist scrutiny in Orientalism. Said’s failure to acknowledge this fact was immediately noticed and disputed by contemporary Jewish Islamicists like Bernard Lewis (Lewis 1979). Subsequently, essays on nineteenth-century Jewish Islamicists who were sympathetic to Islam and promoted the cause of Islam were collected in a volume titled The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis (1999). Even though the essays themselves were insightful, and among them was an essay on Geiger by Jacob Lassner, the volume did not further an involvement with Islam but instead contributed to the existing polemics between American/Israeli Islamicists and Said.  9  Even though the absence of nineteenth-century German and German-Jewish Orientalism in Said’s study constitutes a fairly noticeable gap, his reference to the anti-Semitic context of nineteenth-century Orientalism invites further investigation of the role of the minority positions of these German-Jewish scholars and how they might have influenced their sympathetic or relatively neutral account of Islam. Said is in fact unable to ignore this similarity between the attitude of Orientalism towards the East and that of anti-Semitism towards the minority Jews. He briefly but strikingly implies that Orientalism was not only directed at the Middle East, the Arabs and Islam but also at Europe’s Jewish minorities as the Semitic Orientals within: by an almost inescapable logic, I have found myself writing the history of a strange, secret sharer of Western anti-Semitism. That anti-Semitism and, as I have discussed it in its Islamic branch, Orientalism resemble each other very closely is a historical, cultural, and political truth that needs only to be mentioned to an Arab Palestinian for its irony to be perfectly understood. (27-8) While questions around secularism, exile and diaspora have occupied a significant place in Said’s writings, he never closely engaged with the theoretical implications of the Jewish minority position within Europe—his admiration of Erich Auerbach as an exilic intellectual was Said’s closest treatment of this subject. Said’s scholarly choices are highly determined by his political commitments in the present, and his avoidance of a closer engagement with nineteenth-century Jewish minorities should be taken as a strategic aspect of his “Arab Palestinian” subjectivity and commitments. How else can we explain the lack of this very important background—apart from the fleeting aside just noted—from a critic who was adamant about the “worldliness” of texts, which “even in their most rarified forms are always enmeshed in circumstance, time and place” (WTC 34-5)? If Said had brought up the case of the German-Jewish Orientalists in Orientalism, his overall thesis, construed to function as a liberatory argument for subaltern Muslim and Arab voices, would not have worked as forcefully since Islam was represented more positively in the  10  work of these Jewish scholars. It is hard to argue that Said’s liberatory argument was not effective. After all, it is to him in part that we owe the field of postcolonial literary theory. In this project, therefore, I read Said’s writings in light of his own “being in the world,” namely, the circumstances of his own minority position as an American-Arab-Palestinian. I argue that Said’s idiosyncratic concept of “secular criticism” comes out of his “affiliation” with exilic and minority intellectuals like Erich Auerbach, to which can be added his favourable accounts of Jonathan Swift, Vico, Joseph Conrad and Frantz Fanon as either minority critics or ones who sympathized with the position of a minority culture (WTC 20-3). What he calls the “worldliness” of these authors is in fact the quality of Otherness they are assigned either by the laws of state hospitality or by themselves. Said in his writings makes this Otherness the condition of criticism or of the critical distance of a scholar to his or her subject, the condition of what he calls “secular criticism.” In my dissertation, I—as a Canadian-Turkish-German—not only affiliate myself with Said’s minority existence but also create a reverse lineage from Said, via Lionel Trilling, Erich Auerbach, and Matthew Arnold, to Abraham Geiger. Said’s reference to the Jewish minorities of Europe as fellow victims of Orientalism and the questions this raises about the role of state hospitality towards minorities have been noticed by scholars such as Aamir Mufti in the field of literary studies and Susannah Heschel in Jewish studies. Mufti in his work Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture (2007), poses the “question of Jewish emancipation-assimilation as an early, and exemplary, crisis of minority that has accompanied the development of liberal-secular state and society in numerous cases around the world” (7). Heschel, on the other hand, creates a direct link between Said’s and Geiger’s minority positions within academia, in her book Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (1998). According to Heschel, Geiger in his activities as a  11  reform rabbi as well as a scholar of Jewish history critiqued “the academy’s construction of ‘Judaism’ and the political uses to which it was put,” a process which she sees as analogous to Said’s thesis in Orientalism (Abraham Geiger 21). Both Said and Geiger speak for their minority position within the discursive limits that their chosen discipline prescribes: Said as a literary scholar and Geiger as scholar of monotheistic religions. Besides their minority positions, they also have in common their disciplinary lineage in the historical-philological method of the nineteenth century. Although displaying a rather anti-humanistic world view in his Orientalism, in his later works such as Humanism and Democratic Criticism (2004) and his further notes on Orientalism, Said indeed comes to defend the humanistic brand of historical philology of the nineteenth century that produced comparativists like Auerbach and Curtius. Said comments that “philology as applied to Weltliteratur involved a profound humanistic spirit deployed with generosity and […] hospitality. Thus the interpreter’s mind actively makes a place in it for a foreign Other” (“Orientalism, Once More” 876). Said seemingly ignores the fact that Auerbach’s Mimesis totalizes Western literature and civilization into the dialectical tension between Hebraism and Hellenism, and chooses Auerbach as an exemplary intellectual mainly based on his being a Jewish intellectual exiled in Istanbul by the Nazis. Said’s later defense of humanism and his positive assessment of nineteenth-century historical philology—which he had previously dismissed as the “the laboratory” of “European ethnocentrism”—together with his note on the anti-Semitic background of Orientalism, prompt us to re-evaluate the phenomenon of the German-Jewish scholar of Islam in the nineteenth century (Orientalism 132). These scholars, due to their own subject positions as aliens within Europe, affiliated with the rationalism of scholarly language and with the Enlightenment “reason” of the age, with its focus on cosmopolitanism,  12  instead of with the literary Romanticism of the time that valorized German roots and languages. In their scholarship they developed a cosmopolitan appreciation of world literatures and cultures, as inaugurated by figures like Herder and Goethe. In this sense, Abraham Geiger as a GermanJewish scholar of Islam, with his adapted language of “disinterested” scholarship and his subject positions as a member of a Jewish minority within Europe, can be seen to occupy an intermediate position between Said’s insistence on humanistic secular criticism and his own minority position facing the hegemonic culture of the West.  THEORETICAL FRAMING The questions of my project are largely raised by Said’s writings, and they are questions about state hospitality in face of the Jewish minorities of Europe, and about the hospitality implicit in the method of historical philology in the nineteenth century. I answer these questions by adopting Derrida’s philosophies of exemplarity and of deconstructive hospitality. Three essays by Derrida, “The Other Heading,” “Interpretations at War: Kant, the Jew, the German” and “Hos(ti)pitality,” together with his book The Gift of Death, aided me in formulating a theory of exemplarity and a theory of deconstructive hospitality—which Derrida often calls “Abrahamic hospitality”—to be employed in the assessment of Geiger’s historical circumstances and his scholarship on the Qur’an. Exemplarity in Derrida’s philosophy is the condition of expressing a particularity, such as a cultural, religious, or gendered identity (in its unexpressed or inexpressible form Derrida calls it a singularity) through a common language and discourse that is available to the uttering  13  subject at a particular period in history. For example, Derrida in “Interpretations at War” reads Hermann Cohen’s Kantian defence of a symbiotic German-Jewish nationalism as a product of a German-Jewish intellectual psyche, that is, a hyphenated identity that responds to certain urgencies of Cohen’s present. In other words, Derrida reads Cohen’s hyper-nationalism as a rhetorical strategy situated strictly in certain circumstances and discourses of the nineteenth century. Expressing and asserting a particularity—in this case of Jewish identity—by these means usually involves adapting the language or discourse of the repressive, hegemonic and usurping Other. Cohen adapted Kant’s ethical philosophy, even though the latter was mostly disparaging of the particularism of Jewish identity. Similarly, I argue that Geiger’s adaptation and subversion of the language of secular biblical criticism for the assertion of his Jewish particularity—and in a parallel world, Muhammad’s adaptation of Judaism’s monotheistic tenets as described in Geiger’s work—constitute examples of exemplarity. In a way, exemplarity is the deconstructive version of Said’s worldly criticism and cultural materialism (as a way of worlding texts), but exemplarity pays closer attention to the instability and temporality of the guest and host, and to the entanglements of one’s own language with the language of the Other. Derrida’s notion of deconstructive hospitality emerges from the philosophy of exemplarity and from his examination of the three Abrahamic faiths, their texts, their figures and their interactions. It is a way of reading the past by paying attention to the instabilities, contingencies and temporalities of the adapted discourses and chosen identities, whether cultural, religious or gendered. Derrida’s concept of Abrahamic hospitality, rather than essentializing the condition of hospitality to Abrahamic or monotheistic morality, thus refers to the momentary decision that the prophet Abraham makes on Mount Moriah, as described in The Gift of Death. It is also deconstructive in that it acknowledges that both the case in history that is read with  14  hospitality and the act of reading it with hospitality in the present will inevitably result in some form of conceptual violence and cultural, religious or gendered hegemony; hence Derrida’s syllogism in “hos(ti)pitality.” This contradictory view of hospitality means that the welcoming of the Other will inevitably result in the suppression of other Others. Therefore, I read Geiger’s Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? not only as an example of exemplarity, but also as one of a deconstructive hospitality that welcomes the previously disparaged religion of Islam—since in the Christian view it is nothing but a historical heresy—as a valid faith and as a monotheistic world religion. However, Geiger’s work is also violent against Islam, since in its attempt to elevate Judaism’s image in his current discourses and cultural discussions, it erases Islam’s own particularity by making it a mere historical extension of Judaism. To put this in simpler terms, I employ a Saidean worldly criticism in my reading of Geiger’s Qur’anic scholarship but with a hospitable difference, that is, by welcoming the Orientalist scholar of the nineteenth century and his ally Islam into our discourse of literary studies. If we are to hope for a real engagement with Islam on the part of Western literary studies, we first have to scrutinize the assimilative power of culture, as insisted on by Said, and recognize the inner tensions within this culture. When talking about religious or ethnic particularities, it is easy to slip into a binary of assimilation versus authentic identity. Hospitality entails reading the past with the awareness that the Other is implicated in the making of the self, and that the only options are not either assimilation into the more powerful culture or preservation of the “authentic” self as a site of resistance. In this way, we may be able to discern a thread of difference within the hegemonic narrative that can be picked up and turned into a circling repetition of history that makes the encounter with the entirely Other, in this case Islam, possible. This can be done by seeing the heterogeneities implied in the history of “our culture” and by recognizing the differences within  15  it in the present. Therefore, instead of reading nineteenth-century Orientalism through Said’s model of the Western hegemonic misrepresentation of an “authentic” Orient, I employ Derrida’s philosophy of exemplarity and his concept of hospitality as means for describing the complexity of alterity, with the aim of drawing attention to the nowadays popular but highly problematic binary of “Islam and the West.” Derrida’s philosophy is one source of account-taking of the differences and “Others within” in a discussion of Western culture and literature. I have also consulted studies that turn from a postcolonial to a more diasporic understanding of cultural criticism. I find, for example, the de-territorializing theories of Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy especially suitable for the cultural and literary study of Islamic texts. I posit, with them, that Islam is part of the binary “Islam and the West” not because of any intrinsic values it may possess that are essentially incompatible with the intrinsic values of the West. I think this binary, just like the Jewish-Christian, IndoEuropean and Hebrew-Hellene binaries in the nineteenth century, was born out of the experience of Muslim, Arab or Middle-Eastern identities expressing and asserting their particularities from within the discourses of the West. In other words, today’s binary “Islam and the West” is a result of an encounter between the “minorities” and the Western nations that designate them as such, just as the binary Judaeo-Christian came into being through the intellectually assertive Jewish minorities of the nineteenth-century. In the field of Jewish studies, I am particularly grateful to the works of Sander Gilman, and of Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin, which provide insightful examples from the experiences of American or European Jews without essentializing the notions of diaspora and exile as exclusively Jewish qualities and instead opening them up to further differences, such as those of Muslims within Europe and North America.  16  In the field of modern Islamic studies, I have been inspired by works that take a phenomenological approach to the study of Islam and its texts. Such an approach usually dictates that we take the various kinds of scholarships on Islam not as secondary sources but as primary data in order to draw conclusions on “how” Islam is represented under various circumstances and by various subjectivities, instead of trying to find out “what” Islam is. Especially important for my dissertation in this respect are the studies of Maxime Rodinson, Norman Daniel, Tomoko Masuzawa, Mohammed Arkoun, Abdelwahab Meddeb, and Andrew Rippin, which have taught me that the adapting of a Muslim cultural identity does not have to entail a conflict with scholarship, literature, secularism or even disbelief.  SIGNIFICANCE The current project aspires to be interdisciplinary in its methods and subjects, but it also aims mainly to address certain urgencies within the field of literary studies and theory, which is facing the difference and particularity of Islam today. I suggest that there is a need for a Muslim cultural studies that would take into account the insights provided by all these fields in order to open a space for Muslim difference within Europe today. Considered in such a light, the case of Abraham Geiger, a nineteenth-century German-Jewish scholar of Islam and member of the Wissenschaft des Judentums, with his “neutral” or sympathetic account of Islam, motivated by the Jewish emancipation struggle, may be seen to constitute a stage of thinking towards inclusion of Islam within today’s literary and cultural studies.  17  The cultural and political struggle of European Jewry is also important for my project, as it forms a provocative analogy with the current situation of Muslims within Europe and the West. Back in the nineteenth century, the state hospitality laws of the major European nations were defined partially with the Jews in mind as the aliens within. Today these same laws are debated and reformed partially with Muslims in mind as the aliens within. My interest in the subject of German-Jewish history of the nineteenth century was heightened, for example, when I found out that my own legal status at birth, as a second-generation Turkish “guest worker” in Germany, was an effect of these nineteenth-century laws originally formulated in part to settle the legal status of Germany’s Jewish minorities by means of the introduction of the category “citizenship by blood (jus sanguinis),” a category which deliberately excludes those whose ancestors are not German by blood from gaining citizenship. Parallels between nineteenth century’s Jewish minorities and Muslim minorities today do not end with the state laws that define them as such. Discussions of multiculturalism both in Europe and in North America nowadays are usually marked by an anxiety about dealing with an inassimilable Muslim culture within, which seems to bear some core values entirely in conflict with Western ones. Gilman notes how nowadays this apparent clash between Western values and being Muslim resemble the discussions of the incompatibility of the figure of the Jew and the “culture of [Enlightenment] decorum” in the nineteenth century (Multiculturalism and the Jews). I do not propose that the Jewish emancipation struggle of the nineteenth-century is directly analogues to the accommodation of Muslim voices within today’s Europe. In contrast to the nineteenth-century context, there are today cases of Muslim anti-Semitism and of Jewish anti-Islamism. One of the limitations of this project, therefore, is its occlusion of aspects of a highly complex political context, particularly when considering Said’s investment in the political struggles of Palestine. That aspect of the  18  discussion must be reserved for another study. For now, the aim is to draw attention to the double bind that Jewish and Muslim minorities within Europe experience and how this influences their cultural productions. Gilman, for example, suggests that “it is in the world of multiculturalism that literature […] generates the cultural capital to allow an ‘outsider’ to become a multicultural insider” (22). My project tries to respond to Gilman’s invitation by further investigating how “cultural capital” is negotiated between majority and minority discourses. With this study, I hope to provide the insight that hyphenated expressions like “JudaeoChristian” and unified identities like “Abrahamic” express violence as well as hospitality and must therefore be employed with this caution if new paradigms are to be invented to allow dialogue with Islam within literary theory and criticism. I also see this dissertation as closing a gap between existing cultural analysis of Islam and the literary theories that take account of scriptural interpretations in the formation of religious identities and cosmopolitanisms. Overall, my study hopes to contribute to an understanding of Islam as a collection of personal testimonies that were steeped in their own contemporary and historical liberation struggles against hegemonic powers, while resisting the current and dangerous depictions of Islam as a monolithic and homogeneous belief system set against Western modernity.  19  CHAPTER ONE  Edward Said on Culture and the Western Canon, or How the JudaeoChristian View Came to Dominate Modern Literary Criticism  [T]he version of [our] culture inculcated by professional humanists and literary critics, the approved practice of high culture is marginal to the serious political concerns of society. (Said, WTC 3)  What Said means by “serious political concerns” in the above passage includes the West’s relation to the Islamic world. Said’s critique of literary criticism as such is prompted by the political urgencies that he responded to throughout his life, namely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Western reactions to the Islamist revolution in Iran, the wars between the United States and Iraq, and finally Islamic terrorism. There was a noticeable lack of interest in Islam’s primary texts and its interpretive traditions within literary studies when compared to the prominent presence therein of the Bible until Edward Said brought the topic of Islam to the attention of our discipline. At the same time, Said’s judgment on the Orientalist scholarship of the nineteenth century as an imperial vehicle has put a freeze on close engagements with Islam within literature departments. The new urgency for literary studies in this post-Saidean era, therefore, is to respond to the problem of Islam and the West in light of today’s political and social concerns. Since the publication of Orientalism (1978), Islam has not only increasingly become the centre of political conflict in the world but also significantly grown beyond being the colonial subject or the imperial Other and become a minority force within the West that needs to be reckoned with in relation to the identity of the West. More specifically, we need to consider how Islam’s reception might have interacted with Western literature and its critical traditions. My  20  intention in the present chapter, therefore, is to unravel Said’s interpretation of literary history, which presumes that Islam and its primary texts were consistently othered and hegemonized. Through a critical and deconstructive reading of Said’s works and certain elements of our institutional history, I hope to reveal a thread of difference towards a more forgiving approach to nineteenth-century Orientalist scholarship, and thus perhaps open up a possibility for reading Islam and the Qur’an itself within the disciplines of literary studies. With such an approach in mind, I will read Said’s contrasting of two figures from literary criticism, Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach, by contextualizing them through the Jewish identity struggle in the nineteenth century. The relation that these two critical figures have to the “Jewish question” and how they translate their personal responses into universal paradigms in their criticism will serve in an exemplary way to challenge the contemporary misconception that the idea of Europe was and always must be posited against Islam. Said’s employment of Arnold and Auerbach as exemplary figures for his description of a “secular criticism” that would be more respectful and inclusive towards Islam will be treated first as an ethical, and second as a methodical choice. First, I will draw attention to Said’s ethical gesture of privileging the discourse of the guest over the host in his ethics of hospitality. I will then supplement Said’s ethics with the deconstructive hospitality of Jacques Derrida. While Said’s theory of Orientalism cannot be thought apart from deconstruction, Said contends that deconstructionist philosophy is in essence unethical because in its attempt to unsettle existing meanings it fails to take responsibility in the face of the current social and political urgencies. While Derridean interpretation moves indecisively between meanings and possibilities, not settling on one as the primary meaning, Said, as his idiosyncratic comparison of Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach shows, always tries to settle on a meaning by making exemplary alliances  21  with certain intellectual figures. In fact, he calls such a gesture a worlded, or responsible interpretation: “It is the avoidance of this process of taking comradely responsibility for one’s reading that explains, I think, a crippling limitation in those varieties of deconstructive readings that end (as they began) in undecidability and uncertainty” (Humanism 66). In Chapter Two, I show how Derridean hospitality intentionally blurs the identities of the host and the guest in a relation of hospitality, and thus invites the perpetual movement between particular identity and universal language without a necessary closure. The ethics of hospitality suggests that admitting to undecidability but being open to the unexpected meaning in a state of hospitality can just as well be an act of responsibility. I shall concentrate on the examples of Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach to show how Arnold’s “culture,” just as much as Auerbach’s Western “canon” unsettle the relation of the host and guest in that they can both be read as hospitality and as hegemonic totalities when viewed in the context of the Jewish emancipation struggle of the nineteenth century and its sequels. In looking for gestures of hospitality, I shall keep in mind that hospitality is impossible and violent, while also suggesting that it is the only possible way of taking responsibility in the face of Islam today. As a result, it will become apparent that Said’s either/or approach to literary culture, his reluctance “to remain on the threshold” (Derrida, “How to avoid” 122), has to do with his own particular sense of responsibility. The discussion of Said’s ethical choice will also shed light on his methodological dilemma relating to the difficulty of representing and defending the value of a particular identity, which in his case is the Muslim or Arabic identity. Said’s criticism often appears idiosyncratic to his critics because at times he presents particular identities and universal values as mutually exclusive while at other times he tries to hold on to universal concepts such as secular criticism, democracy or humanism. I would suggest that Said’s dilemma results from an incomplete use of  22  deconstructive exemplarity, particularly in his thesis on Orientalism. Deconstructive exemplarity is an ethical act that pays attention to the tangible particularity of the Other in its singularity, while it admits that this singularity is only accessible through the general and the philosophical. In an attempt to dispute the universalist discourses of the nineteenth century and to give voice to the particular and the subaltern, Said initially denies his own universalizing and humanistic tendencies. By refusing to replace Orientalism with an alternative method that can be expressed by a universal language, Said instead offers negative and positive examples of criticism, Auerbach appears as a good and Arnold as a bad example. In this chapter, I show how Said’s judgments of Arnold and Auerbach are based on the relation of these figures to the Orient. In the first instance, Said represents Arnold’s criticism, particularly his culture concept, as the powerful discourse of the Western host in colonial relationship. In the second case, Auerbach’s exile in the Orient and his Jewish identity take on a symbolic quality that turns Auerbach’s criticism into the voice of the subaltern and even Oriental guest within the West. In turn, Said’s ethics is based on reversing the power relation between the West and the Orient by privileging the discourse of the guest, the exilic and the subaltern over the usurping universal discourses of the Western host. Though very liberative in function, Said’s thesis on Orientalist scholarship fails deconstruction, since Said only attempts to reverse the dichotomy between host and guest, rather than taking into consideration their reciprocity and temporality. Said’s privileging of the “Oriental” side of the East-West dichotomy has to do with his commitment to the Palestinian liberation struggle. Quite often, reference to Western politics in the Middle East undercuts his literary scholarship. His 1993 article “Nationalism, Human Rights, and Interpretation” is a case in point. In this article, Said starts by discussing Arnold’s cultural nationalism and fleetingly proves how Arnold constructs his hegemonic notion of culture based  23  on a Eurocentric viewpoint. However, Said devotes approximately two thirds of the article to the discussion of the Palestinian conflict and the first Gulf War. This article is a perfect example of Said employing his disciplinary discourse to draw attention to the current urgencies for which he is taking responsibility. In The World, the Text, the Critic, for example, he explains that the essays in this collection—primarily addressed to a literary critical community—cannot be thought apart from his previous “three books dealing with the history of relations between the East and West: Orientalism (1978), The Question of Palestine (1979), and Covering Islam (1981)” (27). Indeed, when discussing the political situation in Palestine he easily resorts to a simplified analogy between “Zionism and European imperialism,” which he claims “are epistemologically, hence historically and politically, coterminous in their view of resident natives” (Question 83). Said justifies such simplified connections by claiming to draw attention to “the relationship between scholarship and politics” (WTC 27). In the meantime, his acknowledgement of Zionism’s emergence as a reaction to European anti-Semitism is very limited or absent. With the aim to voice his political commitment to the Palestinian cause, he fails to be open to further differences and narratives of resistance, such as the Jewish emancipation struggle of the nineteenth century, of which Zionism was only one of the outcomes.4 Nevertheless, Said himself often demonstrates more openness to instability and reciprocity between the colonized and the colonizers than some of the postcolonial criticism that follows him. Later in his career, for example, he takes a step back in his critique of nineteenthcentury Orientalist scholarship when he speaks of the historical-philological method as a sign of 4  For a discussion of Said’s ambivalence towards the relationships between Orientalism, Zionism and anti-Semitisim, see Kalmar and Penslar’s introduction to the edited volume Orientalism and the Jews (2005).  24  “a profound humanistic spirit deployed with generosity and [...] hospitality” (“Orientalism Once More” 876). Said discovers the deconstructive —or to use his own term “contrapuntal”— function of the historical-philological method in its ability to resist hegemonic discourses from within through a genuine sense of hospitality. This is the same historical-philological method— as practiced by Orientalism and adopted by Matthew Arnold—that he had previously dismissed as universalist, nationalist and hegemonic (in Orientalism). In his attempt to represent the singularity of the suppressed Other, humanistic philology becomes the last of his positive examples for the secular criticism he tried to promote throughout his life. My point of departure is Said’s The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), with a special focus on the introductory chapter “Secular Criticism,” which William Hart calls the “Rosetta Stone” of Said’s cultural critique (8). I will first provide a critique of Said’s synecdochal treatment of Matthew Arnold, and then turn to his treatment of Erich Auerbach. Said positions these two intellectuals with respect to their Oriental Other: in Arnold’s case, Britain’s MiddleEastern colonies; and in Auerbach’s case, his location of Oriental exile, Istanbul. However, there is also another, unmentioned commonality to these two critics, namely their relation to the “Jewish question,” with Arnold situated at the beginning of modern anti-semitism and Auerbach at the tragic outcome of it. By choosing Auerbach as an exemplary critic, I argue, Said already opens up the possibility of taking Jewish existence in Europe as an exemplary case for Muslim minority identity within the West. Accordingly, I reinterpret Arnold and Auerbach’s writings through the lens of postmodern Jewish studies and deconstruction with the aim of demonstrating that totalizations like “culture” or “canon” for Arnold and Auerbach respectively are in fact circling and inclusive movements of dynamism. Rather than ideals borrowed from a Platonic universe, the concepts of culture and canon should be read as turns and bends in history that  25  allow an encounter with the radical Other while inevitably suppressing other Others through a language of universality. This deconstructive model of history is different than the nineteenthcentury phenomenology that perceives history as a motion of progress towards perfection and universal truth.5 The aim here is to point out that the illusion today of a Judaeo-Christian alliance in literary criticism is a result of an identity struggle at a certain historical period rather than an essential and transcendent given. We must therefore ask ourselves: If the Judaeo-Christian can exist in literary studies despite its tensions and oppositions, can the Muslim-Judaeo-Christian also exist under the heading Abrahamic without its constituents losing their otherness, with their oppositional tensions alive but in alliance, as a response to our current urgencies?  MATTHEW ARNOLD THE ORIENTALIST  Said on Arnold’s Orientalism In Edward Said’s works, especially in The World, the Text, the Critic (hereafter WTC), Matthew Arnold’s notion of culture is described as a great assimilative power that absorbs and neutralizes everything in its path. Most importantly, culture serves as an uncritical “agent of closure,” like the religion that it claims to supplement (Said, WTC 290). For Said, Arnold’s abstract notion of high culture stands for Anglo-Protestant culture that is valorized by cultural apparatuses like 5  Derrida describes the open-ended, and messianic understanding of history that he contrasts to Hegel’s as follows: “[i]t opens onto what remains origin-heterogeneous…; [to] follow the path of a repetition which crosses the path of the entirely other. The entirely other announces itself in the most rigorous repetition. And this repetition is also the most vertiginous and the most abyssal” (Of Spirit 113). Later, he relates the process in which the singularity of the Other is recognized to the implied hospitality in this historical model: “the invention of the other […] would come through the economy of the same, indeed while miming or repeating it, to offer a place for the other” (“Psyche” 60).  26  scholarship and art to justify British state suzerainty abroad; therefore, it functions not only to enhance class differences, but also to establish the superiority of certain races and religions over others. As a matter of fact, Said’s thesis on hegemonic representation and the making of the Orient in Orientalism (1978) will only work if these things are done in the service of such high culture; that is, a culture which is controlled by a state built on the superiority of the AngloSaxon race and of Protestant Christianity. Said’s thesis thus excludes, for example, the context of nineteenth-century Jewish emancipation, even though it includes the colonial relation to the Muslim Orient. And yet, it may be claimed that Arnoldian culture, considered as representative for Europeanism and its relation to its others, has always been dynamic and dependant on converging and diverging discourses on race and religion in Victorian Britain. Indeed, Arnold’s texts with their contradictions and inconsistencies are perfect examples of worldly responsiveness in Said’s terms. Arnold’s dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism in particular, when read through the history of nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewry (the history of emancipation, antiSemitism, and the acculturation process), discloses an ambivalence that requires a reevaluation of the omnipotent hegemony that Said reads into Arnold’s notion of culture. It will be seen that Arnoldian culture, especially as sustained by the indeterminate function of criticism, creates an interpretive and historical fissure, instead of closure, when read through the lens of Jewish difference. The chapter on “Secular Criticism” and the discussion of Ernest Renan and Louis Massignon in WTC reveal the paradoxes in Said’s judgment of Arnoldian culture and his subsequent conclusion that humanistic fields like Orientalist scholarship were “sustained by the unexamined prestige of culture” (279). A determining factor in Said’s judgment of Arnoldian culture in relation to Orientalist scholarship is his ethics, which privileges the guest over the host.  27  Said’s dilemma concerning high culture appears as he tries to establish common norms for criticism, even as he consistently sees himself as fighting universal discourses that serve to erase difference and particularity. William Hart’s Edward Said and The Religious Effects of Culture (2000) was one of the first works to draw attention to Said’s reception of Arnold’s dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism “as an instance of Orientalism,” through its use of nineteenth-century racial thinking (Hart 33). Otherwise, not much has been said specifically about Said’s reception of Arnold, except by Robert J. Young, to whom I will turn shortly. Throughout his works of literary criticism, Said evokes Arnold as the inventor of an exclusive and detached literary culture. Such a literary culture is built on the prestige of the Anglo-Saxon race, serves as an affirmation of Protestant Christianity under the guise of secularism, and promotes an English national canon. Rather than being politically detached, Arnoldian culture was allied with state power against anarchy and supported a “quasi-theological exterior” which, according to Said, was a sign of its being “at home” in religious discourse and therefore “uncritical” (WTC 12). Said’s contrasting of Erich Auerbach against Arnold is determined, accordingly, by his conviction that “culture often has to do with an aggressive sense of nation, home, community and belonging,” whereas—as we can judge from Said’s positive appraisal of Auerbach—being exiled from a nation exempts one from the hegemonic premises of its culture. Thus, Arnoldian culture is a “system of discriminations and evaluations” that sides with home and national filiations. Said calls Arnold’s culture “the assertively achieved and won hegemony of an identifiable set of ideas,” something that is decided upon by a select few as the “best that has been thought and said”, which is then imposed and disseminated into society “downward from the height of power” (12). Though not directly engaged in colonial rule, Arnold is not only “at home” but also makes the home rules:  28  “Distinguished intellectuals like Arnold and Renan,” Said states, were active in shaping “the domestic realm” that “in turn reinforced and reinscribed …the imperial spheres” (“Nationalism” 26). Said’s thesis on culture as hegemony becomes more complicated when expanded to the whole of Western epistemology: The large cultural-national designation of European culture as the privileged norm carried with it a formidable battery of other distinctions between ours and theirs, between proper and improper, European and non-European, higher and lower: they are to be found everywhere in such subjects and quasi-subjects as linguistics, history, race theory, philosophy, anthropology, and even biology. (WTC 14) Said here essentializes “European culture”, treating it as an unchanging norm and unified concept across discourses and historical periods. As his thesis successfully disturbs the discourses on the Oriental other, so it comfortably settles in a discourse of Europeanism. Britain and Europe by association become the imperial hosts imposing home rules on the rest of the world while as the hosts they remain unaffected by this process. In fact, Said proclaims that intellectuals like Arnold endorsed “a national identity [that] homogenized the races and languages that [it] governed” and that “was European and English, as opposed to other [identities] present at the time” (“Nationalism” 27). The charge of essentialism or “Occidentalism” against Said is not new.6 What I want to point out here is that neither “Europe” nor Britain, nor the cultures constructed for them, were homogeneous entities that could simply be explained by either a single religion or race or by any other “pure” genealogy, since racial and religious differences were not just present in the external colonies but were also a domestic issue in Europe, particularly as manifested in the integration process of the minority Jews as, so to  6  It is made already by Dennis Porter in “Orientalism and its Problems” (1982).  29  speak, the Orientals within. Because the tensions and inconsistencies caused by racial and religious differences manifest themselves in high culture and its discursive formations, the Orient in European culture cannot be envisioned as a homogeneous and monolithic entity, as Said presents it. It must be conceived as heterogeneous and multiple. In order to escape the Occidentalism-versus-Orientalism binary of Said’s thesis, we need to accept Said’s judgment of high culture itself as an ethical and rhetorical gesture open to historical critique. In Chapter Twelve of WTC, the ambivalent nature of Said’s approach to Arnoldian culture in relation to religion becomes fully apparent. This time he focuses on the “exemplary and inherently interesting figures of Renan and Massignon” and the process by which their work on Islam was produced for and within their own culture (275). For Said the point where Renan, Massignon and Arnold meet is the “cultural prestige” of being European/Anglo-Saxon, which “eliminate[s] the possibility of a valuable kind of radical self-criticism” (280). He starts his critique of these figures by comparing French and German New Philology to British Orientalism, which, I think, reveals his affinity for the secularizing intent of Arnold’s notion of culture. He begins by discussing Arnold’s yearning for French and German cultural “finish and maturity,” which he convincingly links to the late introduction of “the systematic and organized advances of New Philology” in British intellectual life (268-9). For Britain, where the Orient represented stylistic excess and eccentricity, the study of languages was not yet separated from the study of religion, or understood in the “secular, purely linguistic terms proposed by the New Philology” (274). Said seems to believe that Renan’s philological Orientalism, with all its ethnocentric implications, entered Britain via Arnold. According to a very linear logic, Arnold for Said represents the genealogical source of everything hermetic, ethnocentric, and religious in current literary criticism. Curiously, Renan’s philology is described in terms similar to those used by  30  Said in his discussion of Giambattista Vico’s humanist secularism: Renan was invested in a “philology that moved history away from the existential problems of revealed religion and toward what it was possible to study, toward those real things” (278). Elsewhere, in an appreciative mode, he sums up the philosophy of Vico (a consistently positive figure in Said’s works) as the view that “what human beings can know is only what they have made, that is, the historical, social and secular” (290). The secularizing effect of New Philology is something that Said cannot do without, yet he must criticize it for being in the wrong hands, namely those of intellectuals like Renan, Massignon and Arnold, who are at home in their culture, which they attempt to universalize, thereby erasing, as it were, local differences abroad. Moreover, Said’s criticism of Renan here is based on the observation that the latter wanted do away with monotheistic revelation to “hasten the disappearance of Islam … as the postscript of a postscript, the trace of a trace” of the already disappeared revelation of JudaeoChristianity (281). It is important to notice that Said places a whole generation of Orientalist scholars, and some non-Orientalists like Arnold, on the same front as the triumphalist secularism and scientism of Renan. As a matter of fact, Renan’s anti-monotheistic attitude, bias towards the Indo-European languages, and secular supersessionism were seriously challenged by, for example, the intellectual movement in Germany called Wissenschaft des Judentums, which represented Jewish minority voices that disputed the dominant liberal-Protestant discourses in biblical studies. The liberating function of the historical-philological method is most obvious when Orientalist scholarship becomes a ground for polemics between Protestant universalism and Jewish particularity, a historical fact that Said ignores in his judgment of Orientalist scholarship. We will see that Arnold’s definition of culture, especially his dialectic of Hebraism  31  and Hellenism, was not immune to these polemical discussions in biblical scholarship.7 When read from the perspective of Jewish difference, the hegemonic and homogeneous premise of Arnoldian culture as host discourse becomes doubtful. In short, New Philology which Said in Orientalism unrelentingly critiques as “the laboratory” of modernism and Eurocentrism (132), receives a more nuanced treatment in WTC. Since the logic of Said’s argument that leads from the Orientalism of Renan to Arnoldian culture is hazy, we might ask ourselves whether he ignores Arnold’s role in Anglo-American culture in valorizing a certain “alien” intellectual class by outfitting it with the duty of cultural criticism.8 Indeed, Said acknowledges a difference between Renan and Arnold but only fleetingly (WTC 282). Overall, Said avoids Arnold’s critical legacy unless it is mentioned as part New Criticism. As far as these passages at hand are concerned, Said reveals more ambivalence than certainty in his judgment of Arnoldian culture. I take this ambivalence as Said’s oblique affirmation of Arnoldian culture, especially of the power given to the intellectuals through the function of criticism. Said proves to be very Arnoldian as he is himself authorized by his affiliation with this high culture, and the cosmopolitan possibilities it offers. However, in the end, Said prefers to settle on the moral superiority of the guest, and holds the host responsible for its actions. This ethics proves to be the only consistent aspect of his critique of Arnold, Renan, Massignon, as well as of his appreciation of Erich Auerbach. In the following section I will show how Said’s 7  For Arnold’s knowledge of Wissenschaft des Judentums see Lionel Gossman’s “Philhellenism and Antisemitism: Matthew Arnold and his German Models.” Discussions of the modernization of Judaism and Zionism became popular in England when Benjamin Disraeli became the prime minister in 1868, and subsequently with the publication of George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda (1876). These events coincide with Arnold’s increasing interest in the terms Hebraism and Hellenism. 8 Arnold famously acknowledges the intellectuals as a separate class: “Therefore, when we speak of ourselves as divided into Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace, we must be understood always to imply that within each of these classes there are a certain number of aliens, if we may so call them,—persons who are mainly led, not by their class spirit, but by a general humane spirit, by the love of human perfection” (Culture and Anarchy 81).  32  ethical choice in judging Arnold as the inventor of the hegemonic and elitist notion of culture can be unraveled through a reading of Arnold’s dialectic of Hebrew and Hellene with the help of deconstructive hospitality.  The Hospitality in Arnold’s Dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism Hebraism and Hellenism,—between these two points of influence moves our world. At one time it feels more powerfully the attraction of one of them, at another time of the other; and it ought to be, though it never is, evenly and happily balanced between them. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869)  Until recently, Matthew Arnold’s terms of Hebraism and Hellenism have been read as abstract and dialectical symbols roughly representing the moral and the intellectual impulses respectively. However, they can also be read as racial and religious categories, both markers for Jewish difference in nineteenth-century Europe. I would first of all like to reposition Matthew Arnold into this hermeneutical context, namely that of a European modernity that is in constant negotiation with its ancient other, Judaism. Ironically, Edward Said’s insistence on worlded criticism brought to attention the importance of Arnold for cultural studies, especially in regard to Arnold’s social and political involvement in minority issues, and in the formations of secularism and nationalism in Victorian Britain. Both Said’s and Arnold’s works, therefore, have now become important for the theoretical questions they pose in their contradictory responses to the historical and social circumstances of their time. What potential does reading Arnold through the lens of the nineteenth-century Jewish question offer? It shows us that taking Arnold’s “Hebrew” as historical Judaism extracted from  33  the figure of the living Jew and “Hellene” as a sign of European superiority, eventually privileged over the Hebrew, does not exhaust the complexities and responsive strategies expressed in the dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism. There are two conditions that gave rise to the Enlightenment consideration for the Hebraism/Hellenism binary, conditions from which Arnold’s terms cannot be separated: (1) the historical-philological (secular) reading of the Bible that led to Christianity’s admitting its Jewish past; (2) the Jewish minority presence in Europe that complicated race- and language-based nationalisms. My analysis will show that Arnold did indeed comment negatively about the Semitic races; nevertheless, his hospitality towards the Hebrew element in culture opened up a possibility for Jewish difference in literary criticism—as the example of Lionel Trilling’s reception of Arnold will exemplify. Matthew Arnold’s use of the terms Hebraism and Hellenism terms is radically questioned in the context of the Jewish emancipation struggle in Brian Cheyette’s Construction of the Jew in English Literature and Society (1993), and Michael Ragussis’ The Jewish Question and English National Identity (1995). 9 Cheyette and Ragussis mark a different era in Arnold studies. Beyond exposing the Jewish stereotypes in English literature, they focus on the role of the Jewish figure as a point of indeterminacy and an active participant in the making of the modern identity of Britain. Cheyette’s study considers the Hebraism/Hellenism binary in Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy as an expression of racial difference that can be transfigured into the higher realm of “culture” by eliminating some undesired aspects of “the Jew” which is 9  Prior to that, there was Frederic E. Faverty’s work Matthew Arnold, the Ethnologist (1968), which contextualizes Arnold into nineteenth-century racial theories. David J. DeLaura in Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater (1969) states that Arnold distanced himself from German philhellenism after Culture and Anarchy as a reaction to its anti-Christian, Teutonic resonances, and turned towards Hebraic moralism to establish a secular but ethical doctrine (187-9). Lionel Gossman expands DeLaura’s argument through a more detailed historical-critical approach in “Philhellenism and Antisemitism.”  34  “constructed as both an object that can be spectacularly civilized (embodying Arnold’s ideal of ‘culture’) and, at the same time, as an unchanging Semitic ‘other’” (13). In other words, the Jew becomes the figure at the edge of Enlightenment dilemma: the figure of the Jew embodies the Romantic valorization of racial particularity on the one hand, and clashes with the universal values of Enlightenment on the other. Cheyette prompts us to ask: How much of the racial particularity of the Semite can be tolerated in an Enlightened society guided by the principle of culture? Or, to put it differently, can one still talk of Jewish difference and particularity when the Jew has become part of high culture? Ragussis, on the other hand, contextualizes Arnold’s concepts of Hebraism and Hellenism by showing how they were shaped through a dialogue with Benjamin Disraeli’s Hebraic project. He argues that Arnold’s ambivalence towards these terms is a strategic response to the politics of his time. Ragussis claims that since his lecture “On the Study of Celtic Literature” of 1867, Arnold employed the science of race to revise not only the status of the Celts in English society but also that of the Jews. This revision culminates in the Hebrew-and-Hellene formulations in Culture and Anarchy. Ragussis also points out that the figure of the Jew was represented through “negative historicization … by means of which [Arnold’s Jews] are fictionalized and figuralized as no more than an ancient race divorced from living Jews of contemporary England” (217). The Hebraism in Arnold’s writings, her argues, thus remains essentially Christian, and the Semitic elements of contemporary Jewry are extracted from his “historical” model. While both Cheyette and Ragussis defend a more exclusionist vision of high culture in relation to the figure of the Jew, Robert J.C. Young in Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory,  35  Culture and Race (1995)—which also engages with Edward Said’s reading of Arnold— highlights a more reciprocal relation between the two. Young, using Homi Bhabha’s term “hybridity” retrospectively for nineteenth-century English culture, and in effect for all Western culture, argues that British culture “was fissured with difference and the desire for otherness” and that it was Arnold’s idea of a living racial mixture that developed “into a theory of England as multicultural” (17). While accepting that Arnold was one of the first British critics who subscribed to the discursive authority and “objectivity” of the racial science of the late nineteenth-century, Young claims that Arnold’s culture in Culture and Anarchy is defined by what it lacks and “in strictly exotic terms,” and thus fails to accomplish a purist identification of English culture as Edward Said argues (57). As can be seen, current scholarship is gradually accepting the cosmopolitan and hybrid character of Arnold’s culture concept, though doubts about its racializing and homogenizing implications are always present. The passage below, on the Indo-European versus Semitic distinction, is most commonly used to evidence Arnold’s ethnographic views: Science has now made visible to everybody the great and pregnant elements of difference which lie in race, and in how signal a manner they make the genius and history of an Indo-European people vary from those of a Semitic people. Hellenism is of IndoEuropean growth, Hebraism is of Semitic growth; and we English, a nation of IndoEuropean stock, seem to belong naturally to the movement of Hellenism. But nothing more strongly marks the essential unity of man than the affinities we can perceive, in this point or that, between members of one family of peoples and members of another; and no affinity of this kind is more strongly marked than that likeness in the strength and prominence of the moral fibre, which, notwithstanding immense elements of difference, knits in some special sort the genius and history of us English, and of our American descendants across the Atlantic, to the genius and history of the Hebrew people. (Culture and Anarchy 95) Cheyette reads the foregrounding of racial difference in such scientific terms as a sign of Arnold’s liberal rejection of Jewish religious particularity, and adds that “the uncontained  36  ‘semitic growth’ of Hebraism can always be represented as a potentially ‘anarchic’ force” that needs to be contained by Hellenism (19). Cheyette’s position is similar to that of Edward Said in making Arnold’s subscription to “scientific” racial theories of the nineteenth century the main obstacle to his attempt to unite religious and racial differences under the transcending category of culture. Thereby, Cheyette and Said view Arnold’s statements on the races as an evidence for exclusionist nationalism rather than a liberal cosmopolitanism.10 It is clear that Arnold’s racebased nationalism expressed in passages such as this one is a sore spot in the history of literary criticism. A more hospitable picture of Judaism might emerge, however, when Arnold’s statements are read through the history of Jewish Enlightenment in Germany, and of Jewish emancipation in Britain. As will be discussed in Chapter Three, German Enlightenment philosophy contrasts Hebraism to Christianity as being too law-bound, while Christianity is seen as more spiritual. Arnold himself affirms this view: “Christian duties are founded on reason, not on the sovereign authority of God commanding what he pleases” (Culture and Anarchy 134). It is true that Arnold does not entirely disrespect Judaic moralism as, say, Immanuel Kant does when he promotes “autonomous reason” against the heteronomous (God-bound, unquestioning) moral law of the Jews. Arnold sees a certain value in the practical side of Hebraism, standing for “conduct and righteousness …which is three-fourths of our life” (Literature and Dogma 227). In this context, Arnold’s privileging of Hebraic moralism turns into a strategy for rejecting German  10  In contrast to such approaches, Donald D. Stone for example, argues that the cosmopolitan gesture in Arnold’s culture is more important than its exclusionist implications: “[Arnold] used the terms [Hebrew and Hellene] pragmatically, flexibly, to denote both a dual historical heritage and two complementary states of being (strictness of conscience and spontaneity of consciousness, respectively) that had practical bearings in a newly industrial and democratic world” (179).  37  transcendentalism. To repeat Arnold’s own metaphor, the “moral fibre” of Hebraism is “knit” into the character of Anglo-American culture. Nevertheless, Arnold’s emphasis on Hebrew moralism remains limited because it implies hostility towards the Rabbinic tradition and Mosaic law. According to common Enlightenment belief and Protestant theology, the Rabbinic elements in Judaism continued after the correction of Christian spirituality and were incompatible with Enlightenment reason, and therefore also with Arnoldian culture.11 The Jewish Enlightenment as initiated by Moses Mendelssohn differs from German Enlightenment in this sense: it tries to preserve the current validity of Judaism, with all its elements, accepting it as a positive force while agreeing with the general assumption that Judaism is carnal and heteronomous, and that ritual and tradition have to be controlled by reason. This was the basis of the Jewish Reformation movement, and the Wissenschaft des Judentums was the science that would modernize Judaism according to the tenets of universal reason. Arnold was quite aware of the discussions in biblical criticism concerning the intertwined histories of Judaism and Christianity, and clearly took a stance that was in favour of the Jewish Reformation. A proof of Arnold’s awareness of this context can be found in his rejection of the claim that Christianity was a development of the Aryan race, as in his disagreement with Emile Burnouf in Literature and Dogma. The insistence on a Jewish Jesus was the ideological stronghold of the nineteenth-century modernizing Jewry.12 Most of the Jewish reformers subscribed to racial theories themselves but opposed the view that the Indo11  Arnold, for example, states: “And, immense as is our debt to the Hebrew race and its genius, […],— who, that is not manacled and hoodwinked by his Hebraism, can believe that, […] our reason and the necessities of our humanity have their true, sufficient, and divine law expressed for them by the voice of any Oriental and polygamous nation like the Hebrews […], a Semitic people, whose wisest king had seven hundred and three hundred concubines?” (Culture and Anarchy 134). 12 Susannah Heschel in Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (1998) shows how discussions of the Jewish past of Christianity served as a liberating discourse for Jewish minorities in Europe.  38  European races were superior to the Semitic ones. Like Arnold and most of his contemporaries, they also did not question the preeminence of reason. In short, though Arnold positively acknowledges the Semitic origins of Christianity, he excludes the radically different, the professing/traditional Jew and the other Semitic peoples, the Arabs, from his civilizing project. One must also consider that Arnold’s dialectic of Hebrew and Hellene only leads to the illusion of the special and unbreakable alliance of the Jewish and the Christian, with undesired aspects not only of Judaism but also of Christianity extracted. His Literature and Dogma (1883), for example, is a work addressed to the dogma and institutions of Christianity, not of Judaism. A reductionist and essentializing view of Christianity can clearly be observed in the following statement about Christian missionaries in the Orient facing other religions like “Mahometanism, and Brahminism, and Buddhism:” Yet everyone allows that this strange figure [of the Christian missionary] carries something of what is called European civilisation with him, and a good part of this is due to Christianity. But even the Christianity itself that he preaches, imbedded in a false theology though it be, cannot but contain, in a greater or lesser measure as it may happen, these three things: the all-importance of righteousness, the method of Jesus, the secret of Jesus….Therefore to all whom it visits, the Christianity of our missions, inadequate as may be its criticism of the Bible, brings what may do them good. (Arnold, Literature and Dogma 198)  Throughout Literature and Dogma the Judaic background of Christianity is emphasized over and over again, while purist or science-based Christian apologetics are relentlessly criticized. In this passage it is clear that Arnold cannot deny that the Jesus of the “secret” was a Jew, yet he also implies that those other religions can never relate to this particular Judaeo-Christian “secret,” which he now embeds into the heart of “European civilization.” There are two ways of reading Arnold’s extraction of the principles of “righteousness,” “method” and “secret.” First, we can  39  read them as an affirmation of Christian onto-theology, or as Said would interpret it, a sign of Christian hermetism in literary criticism. Second, we can place Arnold in his rightful context of Romantic logocentrism, as famously refined by S.T. Coleridge in the symbol of Jesus Christ.13 Thus, we can read the passage as a statement about the literary/secular interpretation of the Bible, which is probably how it was received upon its publication—rather than as a theologizing of literature, as we tend to interpret it today. By doing so, we might gain an understanding of those principles as relating to the “function of criticism,” namely as ethical responsiveness to historical urgencies (righteousness), universal norms for determining the best that has been written and thought (method), and the indeterminacy of criticism (secret). One could note the similarities between such an interpretation and the secular criticism that Edward Said promotes, expect that when it comes to universal method Said cannot move beyond a certain point because for him any sort of universalism means the suppression of particularity. What needs to be emphasized, I suggest, is that Arnold’s literary universalism suppresses not only the particularity of the radically other religions, but also Christian identity as it has been threatened by increasing secularization of national culture in the hands of public intellectuals like Arnold. Thus, we must acknowledge that Arnold’s “culture,” based on the symbiosis of Judaism and Christianity, is inclusive of and violent towards both sides of the Judaeo-Christian hyphen, resulting in a deconstructive hospitality. While such a symbiosis implies the heterogeneity of “European civilization” in the face of Jewish difference, it nevertheless works to be hegemonic and violent with respect to the radically Other. What is to be acknowledged and welcomed in Arnold’s culture, I think, is an opening towards Jewish difference.  13  See for example, Mary Ann Perkins in Coleridge’s Philosophy: The Logos as Unifying Principle (1994).  40  The second aspect of Arnold’s deconstructive hospitality develops in the context of the Jewish emancipation process in Britain. Some critics have drawn attention to Arnold’s support for Jewish civil rights. Even Cheyette, who is probably the harshest critic of Arnold after Said, provides evidence to this effect, and recalls that Arnold was so pro-Jewish that there were suspicions that he might have had Jewish heritage (15). Jonathan Freedman in The Temple of Culture (2000) stresses the accommodation of the alien Jew within Arnold’s cultural scheme: “the pattern of simultaneous incorporation and expulsion of the Jews [defines] the drama of European culture building” (50). However, in contrast to Cheyette and Ragussis, who point to the repression of the living Jew in Arnoldian culture, Freedman argues that “Arnold seizes upon and makes his own the Jew’s marginalization to distance himself from his own provincial, ‘Philistinish’ national culture and to identify himself with a larger, European cultural project and ideal” (50). Freedman infers this from Arnold’s description of criticism as a “second Moses poised in the wilderness, espying from afar the Promised Land” in The Function of Criticism and from his poem “Rachel” which praises the Jewish-French actress’s cosmopolitan character.14 To conclude: Arnold’s position towards minority rights in Britain was a liberal one in contrast to the separatist views of his father Dr. Thomas Arnold. “The State is of the religion of all its citizens without the fanaticism of any of them,” he reminds us in Culture and Anarchy, clearly speaking in support of the granting of full emancipation to Jewish citizens in 1858 (10). Arnold creates an opening for the historical other of Christianity, instead of essentializing culture 14  The last part of Arnold’s poem “Rachel” is as follows: Ah, not the radiant spirit of Greece alone She had—one power, which made her breast its home! In her, like us, there clashed contending powers, Germany, France, Christ, Moses, Athens, Rome, The strife, the mixture, in her soul are ours, Her genius and her glory are her own.  41  as exclusively Protestant Christian or Indo-European. Consequently, Arnold not only defends Hebrew moralism but also supports the political rights of the living representatives of biblical Hebraism. On the other hand, Arnold’s civilizing project is also violent because it excludes the other Semitic race, Arabs, and non-Caucasian races. Most importantly, it requires an assimilation of radical differences under the heading of culture. Rather than focusing on how the culture concept served to suppress racial and religious difference in British society, I want to highlight the reception history of Arnold next. I believe that the cosmopolitan implications and focus on indeterminacy in Arnold’s criticism created a fissure in literary criticism enabling minority intellectuals like Lionel Trilling, the first Jewish professor of English in an American university.  Lionel Trilling’s Admiration for Matthew Arnold Some of the dilemmas of being a Jewish intellectual in mid-twentieth-century America are poignantly expressed in Lionel Trilling’s biographical work Matthew Arnold (1939). Trilling reads Arnold’s lecture of 1866 “On the Study of Celtic Literature” as a combination of “literary and scientific methods” toward a “right [social] feeling” (232). What Trilling means is that Arnold resorts to the authority of racial science of his day, the anthropology that assumes that the character of a nation is determined by “blood” or “race,” in order to express his ethical reaction to purist, either Teutonic or Anglo-Saxon, and possibly anti-Irish, notions of Englishness. Arnold was “at pains to show that the English are an amalgam of several ‘bloods’—German, Norman, Celtic” (233). Moreover, Trilling points to Arnold’s use of race as a symbol for a unified national spirit consisting of varied temperaments, arguing that it serves “not to separate peoples but to draw them together” (236):  42  Using the terms of ‘race,’ Arnold is actually speaking of reason and the complete man (242). […] The [race] theory, sprung from the desk of the philosopher and the philologist, had an unfailing attraction for the literary and quasi-religious mind; the conception of a mystic and constant ‘blood’ was a handy substitute for the soul. (234)  On the grounds of Arnold’s symbolic use of hybridized blood to defend “a far wider range of temperament than [England] had conceived” (242), and the wide-spread applications of such theory in Arnold’s day, Trilling both excuses Arnold’s subscription to racial theories and is convinced that “some [others] used it for liberalizing purposes, as Arnold himself did” (235). Although Trilling primarily focuses on the more abstract, historical-dialectical meaning of Hebraism and Hellenism throughout the book, it is apparent from the following statement of his that the question of living Jews, and the anti-Semitism of the time when Trilling was writing this book, were looming in the back of his mind: Today, when the anthropological doctrines which Arnold found so stirringly fruitful are supported only by political partisans or by writers whose scientific methods Arnold himself, were he now living would not accept, we must take [Arnold’s] elaborate theory only as a kind of parable. (Trilling 233)  Trilling begins his treatment of Arnold’s career with a long prelude about the Hyde Park riots in the summer of 1866. Such an act of historical contextualization mainly serves to prove that Arnold’s support for state order as opposed to working-class anarchy was the result of his criticism of the government for being the instigator of the riots through their weakness and indecisiveness (243-51). Trilling observes that Arnold’s ideal depiction of the state in the second chapter of Culture and Anarchy as being the representative of “our best self, or right reason,” is in accordance with his reaction to the Hyde Park events and with his attempt to redefine the state in terms of “culture” as “the best that said and thought.” The state for Arnold, according to  43  Trilling, is “a way to endow reason with power” (263). Thus, in contrast to Said’s interpretation of Arnold’s support for the state as a sign of “being at home” in power, Trilling offers the view that Arnold with his nineteenth-century mind believed in the universality and supremacy of reason and the “Platonic myth of state,” and was inviting the existing state to better itself on those principles (255). The most striking example for Trilling’s and Said’s contrasting receptions of Arnold is their sharing of quotation from Culture and Anarchy. Trilling, emphasizing that these were Arnold’s “last words as Professor of Poetry at Oxford,” quotes a long passage from Culture and Anarchy: Plenty of people will try to indoctrinate the masses with the set of ideas and judgments constituting the creed of their own profession or party. Our religious and political organizations give an example of this way of working on the masses. I condemn neither way; but culture works differently. It does not try to teach down to the level of inferior classes; it does not try to win them for this or that sect of its own, with readymade judgments and watchwords. It seeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light, where they may use ideas, as it uses them itself, freely—nourished and not bound by them. This is the social idea; and the men of culture are the true apostles of equality. (Arnold qtd. in Trilling 271-2)  The subsequent sentences of this passage are also used by Said in WTC: The great men of culture are those who have had a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time; who have laboured to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanize it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remaining the best knowledge and thought of the time […] and a true source, therefore, of sweetness and light. (Arnold qtd. in Said, WTC 10)  44  Trilling quotes this key passage for two purposes: First, he uses it to exemplify the Romantic attitude towards the cultivation of masses as the only means to civic equality and progression towards a perfect order. Trilling defends Arnold because Arnold’s idea of culture empowers the intellectuals to take on an active political role: “[Culture] is a method of historical interpretation which leads to political action (271).” For Trilling, Arnold’s open-ended definition of culture signifies a promotion of historical relativity and rejection of permanent and universal systems.15 Said, on the other hand, reads this passage as endorsing hegemony, as elitism and as an affirmation that the universal rather than merely current form of culture is Anglo-Saxon and Christian. Said quotes this passage when he argues that it is state hegemony that determines what is “best,” but Said misapplies Arnold. He could have found a dozen passages on the authoritarian role of the state from Culture and Anarchy. However, he chooses this passage that revealingly reflects the aim of his own project of defining the “function of criticism in the present time” (WTC 5), namely to rid criticism “of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanize it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and learned” (Arnold, Culture and Anarchy 53). Both Said and Trilling clearly see themselves as part of the high culture that was secured by Arnold’s valorization of literary criticism. Trilling, however, nuances his admiration for Arnold in his later writings. In the preface to the 1949 edition of Matthew Arnold, after having suffered the “assault on [his] mind of the  15  Trilling states that “[h]istory is a movement in a direction, but the direction is complex, certainly not a straight line, rather a confusion of currents in the stream of the universe, which veer now this way, now that—changeable, shifting, not easily charted. The work of culture is to ascertain the dominant culture, the one which keeps most nearly to the course of the stream itself. What the dominant current of the next moment may be is not predictable, yet it must be ascertained, man’s salvation is to move with it. The impracticability of any system lies in its negotiation of a moving current of history; it builds its house on the river bank, a static structure past which the living waters flow. Culture, on the other hand, seeks to navigate the flood by every trick of rudder and sail” (272). Elsewhere, Trilling also mentions the influence of Vico’s providential historicism on Arnold (51-3).  45  Nazis,” Trilling admits that he would not have written “quite so much as Arnold’s advocate on certain particular points,” clearly referring to Arnold’s ethnographic writings. However, he adds: “But I should write of him with an even enhanced sense of his standing for the intellectual virtues that are required by a complex society if it is to survive in real and not in merely simulated life” (Trilling 3). Anthony Julius and Jonathan Freedman’s accounts show how Trilling, as the first Jewish professor in a university’s English Department in America, and one who was subject to institutional anti-Semitism, clearly speaks from his Jewish subject position, both when apologizing for Arnold and when acknowledging the racialist aspects of Arnold’s writings (Julius 53; Freedman 192-5). However wrought with admiration, Trilling does frequently cast doubts on Arnold’s legacy, as for example when he notes: Out of the belief that the best self, Hero or State, is in touch with the right reason, will of God, may flow chauvinism, imperialism, Governor Eyre, the white man’s burden—all things which make us turn to Mill and skepticism, well-nigh willing to rest in “anarchy.”(277) It is possible to read this critical indebtedness to Arnold as a sign of Trilling’s acknowledgement of his participation in institutional high culture, and at the same time a rejection of ethnic assimilation within this institution. Both Said and Trilling are aware of the power given to them by Arnold as classless, intellectual “aliens.” Trilling admits it, as we have seen, in an act of forgiveness in his “Preface to the Second Edition.” Said denies it exactly because of Arnold’s ethnological ideas that are pro-Jewish in a limited sense and essentially exclude the Semitic races. Said speaks favourably about Trilling, and frequently repeats that Trilling was a mentor to him at Columbia University (WTC 142 & 164-5). Although he possibly reads Arnold through Trilling, he is very antagonistic towards Arnold. If Arnold’s definition of criticism as the “free play of the mind upon all subjects” made Trilling’s presence in the literary institution possible  46  (both metaphorically and literally since his doctoral dissertation was on Arnold) as a secondgeneration Jewish immigrant who was subject to policies of exclusion, then Trilling and his influence on the literary institution presumable also helped make possible Said’s role as an Arab professor of English at Columbia University,16 just as Said’s presence in the literary academy and his legacy as a public intellectual have helped make it possible for many scholars from second and third world countries, like myself, to have a voice in English departments. One must also add that what made Arnoldian culture accommodating of Jewish professors like Trilling was his belief in the German-Jewish symbiosis of the nineteenth-century, which was enabled through Bildung at the modern universities as well as the mobility of professions. As Anthony Julius in his book points out, the anti-Semitism of next-generation poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound was a reaction to the alienated cosmopolitanism of the European Jewry that Arnold was praising.17 The Jewish-German symbiosis, easily extendable to all European Jewry, is today either considered assimilation-by-culture or a completely failed illusion due to the trauma caused by the Holocaust. Nevertheless, Arnold was the only major literary figure in Anglo-American culture who gave consideration to this symbiosis model. Hence, Trilling’s admiration for Arnold is understandable in his pre-War discourse, and comparable to Said’s admiration for Erich Auerbach. Both men favour the inner tensions, complexity of institutional affiliations, double relation of marginalization and interdependence between the dominant discourse and its Others in their chosen exemplary critic.  16  Freedman mentions Trilling’s influence on Harold Bloom while providing a context for second and third generation Jewish immigrants and their history in the literary academy (213-5). 17 Anthony Julius analyzes T.S. Eliot’s anti-Semitic poem “Sweeney Among the Nightingales,” which was written as a response to Arnold’s poem “Rachel.” According to Julius, Eliot uses common antiSemitic themes to repudiate Rachel’s apparent cosmopolitanism and concludes that at the end she cannot escape her Jewishness (87-91).  47  Although, as we have seen in the analysis of WTC, Said critiques Arnold because of his affiliation with New Philology, more often than not he interprets Arnold as an AngloSaxon/Christian elitist rather than as a historical-philologist who sees cultures in temporal relation to each other. This tendency is apparent in his classification of Arnold as a modernist and even a New Critic avant la lettre. When noting that English studies dominated the literary critical academy until the 1960’s, he argues: “The believers in this area include Arnold at the beginning, later Leavis, Empson, Richards, and most of the southern New Critics, […] for them everything outside the Anglo-Saxon world had to bend around to Anglo-Saxon ends” (WTC 164). We must consider Said’s interpreting Matthew Arnold as an instigator of New Critical tradition, instead of seeing him as part of nineteenth-century humanist philology, as both an ideological and a rhetorical act. When Arnold advises the literary critic “to see the object as in itself it really is” and praises “disinterestedness” in The Function of Criticism at the Present Time, he at once promotes a humanistic responsibility and supports a positivist epistemology in humanities that might or might not lead to philological over-specialization. Interpreting “disinterestedness” as a refusal of the psychological, historical and sociological background of a literary work and seeing philological historicism as a sign of dilettantism belongs strictly to the critics who immediately follow Arnold. Philological historicism was under attack at the beginning of modernism for various reasons. However, it was not Arnold himself but his subsequent interpreters, such as T.S. Eliot, who translated “disinterestedness” into an elitist vision of literature.18  18  See, for example, Baldick who notes how it was only during the war of 1914-18 that the study of English “as conducive to national pride and unity” was promoted and how the early criticisms of T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards, and the Leavises “revived and modified” Arnold’s criticism in more “‘practical’ directions” (2-19).  48  Conclusion Edward Said’s dilemma about offering an alternative method to Orientalism is exemplified in his ambivalent approach to Arnold’s historical milieu. Humanistic philology, with its insistence on secularism, cultural particularity and relativity is too precious for Said to disregard; however, it also happens to be the “laboratory” for racialist and hegemonic ideas in the nineteenth century (Orientalism 132). As a result, negative examples for criticism, like Arnold, who are “at home” in their culture are categorized in the negative aspects of both New Philology and New Criticism. As Turner and Roberts point out in The Sacred and the Secular University (2000), the secularization of the university—the move from “ideal knowledge cohering under a Christian worldview toward an attractive new ideal of specialized disciplinary learning,” especially in the humanities—was made possible by philological historicism, which assumed that “every human phenomenon was determined by its own distinct, unique, ultimately contingent history” (117-8). This method, they claim, intrinsically denied the imposition of an overarching schema, such as the Christian narrative, or a unified human-history because it treated such knowledge or narrative as the product of a certain civilization at a certain time. Ultimately, Turner and Roberts argue, “postmodern antifoundationalism is the natural child of philological historicism, bred up by humanities” (118). Said was clearly aware of the potential of this method: when the grand narrative is removed via the philological-historical method, morality and aesthetics are not in danger of being part of the hegemony of a certain religion or race. Philological historicism rather provides us with the conditions for understanding the morality of the Other, and this alone is its moral function. Said held on to the ethical implications of philological historicism in his later writings, primarily through his admiration for Erich Auerbach. The fact that he did not want to  49  consider even a tangential association of Arnold with this humanist philology is explicable because of the Judaeo-Christian view that Arnold imposed on the other religions and cultures of the world. Said is quite justified in detecting a certain elitism in the way Arnold assigns the guardianship of high culture to European civilization, which through the dialectic of Hebraism and Hellenism becomes primarily a Judaeo-Christian symbiosis, while other cultures at best fare as anthropological cultures that need to be kept in check by this high culture. However, as we have seen, Said errs in judging Arnold’s position as an uncritical closure and essentialism. As the example of Trilling helps us to see, Arnold’s insistence on an abstract and indeterminate “culture” could be an expression of secular historicism in the Viconian vein, since his welcoming of the Hebraic element created a fissure in the history of literary criticism —and in AngloAmerican culture as a whole— towards an opening for Jewish difference and therefore potentially for other kinds of difference too.  ERICH AUERBACH: FROM WESTERN CANON TO WORLD LITERATURE According to Edward Said’s comparison in the The World, the Text, and the Critic, Matthew Arnold starts the New Critical period in literary studies with English national culture at the centre; in contrast, Erich Auerbach de-centers it with his emphasis on world literature. David Damrosch suggests that Said’s comparative approach to Matthew Arnold and Erich Auerbach has posed the study of world literature as a “challenge to the local, the national, or … the ‘filiative’” (“Secular Criticism Meets the World” 3). However, are Arnold and Auerbach as polarized as Said presents them? As we have seen in the previous section, Arnold’s contribution to the Hebraism and Hellenism dialectic complicates the vision of purist and elitist nationalism.  50  A closer look might likewise reveal that Auerbach in his writings and his reception is not that well suited for propagating world literature. Instead, I argue that Said’s polarization of literary critical history into comparative on the one hand and strict national and period studies on the other, is an ethical stance to justify Said’s minority subject position within the strict bounds of the English Department by alliance with an exemplary intellectual in exile. Erich Auerbach has consistently served as an affirmative example for Said’s criticism from his entry into the literary academy (one of Said’s first publications was a translation he did with his wife of Auerbach’s “Philology and Weltliteratur” in 1969) right up to his posthumous work Humanism and Democratic Criticism (2004). Said’s ethical and methodological dilemmas, namely the ethical privileging of the guest in an ethics of hospitality and the replacing of a universal language through exemplary alliances with intellectual figures from history (curiously similar to Auerbach’s own use of the humanistic genre of Geistesgeschichte), can be observed very clearly in his reception of Auerbach as well.19 Because of Said’s very early engagement with Auerbach and his emphasis on him as the “earthly critic,” it is no surprise that Auerbach today gets mentioned in the same breath as world literature and postcolonial cultural studies. As a long-time observer of Auerbach’s reception, Herbert Lindenberger in a recent article looks at how Said’s appropriation of Auerbach’s work has led to affinities that “would not be readily apparent to those [who are] familiar with [Auerbach’s] writings” (45). Lindenberger observes that to appreciate figures from the past whose innovations anticipated current issues is itself “a thoroughly traditional activity within the 19  Said in his “Introduction to the Fiftieth-Anniversary Edition” of Mimesis mentions Auerbach’s indebtedness to the German tradition of Geisteswissenschaft (generally known as humanities or in Said’s words “knowledge of the products of mind or spirit”) and how Auerbach developed his version from the secular historicism of Giambattista Vico. One can clearly read Said’s appreciation of this hermeneutical tradition as “a sympathetic dialogue of two spirits across ages and cultures who are able to communicate with each other as friendly, respectful spirits trying to understand each other” (xiii-xiv).  51  history of criticism” (54). I argue that Said’s attraction to Auerbach is rooted in their common minority position, which poses the philosophical dilemma of encountering the Other within an ethics of hospitality where the positions of the guest and the host are unstable and paradoxical. Both Auerbach and Said embrace the historical-philological method because it allows their own particularities to be expressed while being open to the unexpected other meanings and particularities. Such a worlded form of humanism, they believe, is responsive to actual historical events and is therefore ethical towards the living Other. Said’s treatment of Auerbach throughout his works is marked by a philosophical and ethical concern for hospitality and at the same time displays a constant pull towards worlding and contextualizing the terms of this ethics (what Auerbach calls “Konkretisierung” in Mimesis).  Auerbach the Exemplary Critic at the Limits Said in a brief introduction to Auerbach’s “Philology and Weltliteratur” points out a continuity between humanistic philology, German Romance philology and the study of world literature, a line stretching from Vico, Goethe and Herder to Auerbach. He emphasizes the “visionary concept” of Weltliteratur for its ability to “transcend national literatures [to the level of Humanität] without, at the same time, destroying their individualities” (“Philology and Weltliteratr” 1). It is possible that Said’s interest was turning towards the figure of the exilic intellectual at the time of this translation. Auerbach’s essay, for example, famously ends with his quotation from Hugo of St.Victor about the spiritual benefits of exile, which is not mentioned in Said’s rather concise introduction but is quoted later in the chapter “Secular Criticism” in WTC  52  (7).20 The figure of Auerbach as an intellectual “in exile” is first discussed in Orientalism (1978), where Said’s admiration for Auerbach’s humanism is set against his unrelenting critique of the humanist tradition of Orientalist scholarship. While being critical of Orientalism’s “summational attitude” towards culture during the interwar period, which is explained as a reaction to a certain humanistic crisis in Europe, Said puts the non-Orientalist version of this attitude embodied in Auerbach in a surprisingly favourable light, and praises Mimesis as “an eloquent scholarly and personal testimonial response” to a crisis (Orientalism 258). What sets Auerbach apart from his Orientalist counterparts, Said explains later, is the fact that Mimesis was written during Auerbach’s exile in Istanbul “with the spiritual detachment and generosity necessary for true vision” (Orientalism 259). The reason why a German philologist’s, such as Auerbach’s or Ernest R. Curtius’s, interest in Romance literatures is more favourable than a Western Orientalist’s reading of the “great works” of the East, according to Said, is that “Islamic Orientalism viewed the problems of mankind as separable into the categories called ‘Oriental’ and ‘Occidental’ of which the later one was always triumphant” (Orientalism 262-3). In other words, Said views Orientalist scholarship as the hegemonic discourse of the host employed to define and efface the identity of the guest. Said’s ethics of hospitality that privileges the guest is more obviously expressed in his praise of Auerbach in the opening chapter of The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), where he elaborates on Auerbach as the “exilic critic” whose “work is steeped in the reality of Europe, just as the specific circumstances of his exile, in the non-Occidental Istanbul, enabled a concrete 20  The passage from Hugo is as follows: “It is, therefore, a source of great virtue for the practiced mind to learn, bit by bit, first to change about in visible and transitory things, so that afterwards it may be able to leave them behind altogether. The person who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign place” (Hugo St.Victor qtd. in Said, WTC 7).  53  critical recovery from Europe” (WTC 16). Thus, Auerbach’s “filiation” with his native country and his “affiliation” to humanistic criticism of the comparative literary tradition of Vico, Goethe and Herder, placed in an Oriental setting, becomes the figure for Said’s famous secular critic at the limits. More than a biographical fact, to which I will return later, the positive influence of the exile on Auerbach’s works takes on the quality of an exaggerated symbol for Said. Among all the various receptions of this particular but significant appropriation of Auerbach by Said, Aamir Mufti’s is so far the only one that approaches Said’s chosen affiliation with Auerbach as a shared minority concern, that is, in the contexts of Jewish diaspora in Europe and Arab/Muslim minorities in the West today. Mufti in “Auerbach in Istanbul” believes that the ethical implications behind its exilic production were what attracted Said to Auerbach’s philology. According to Mufti, “the history of the Jewish minority as the recurring occasion for crisis and control in post-Enlightenment secularism, [opens possibilities] for the distinctly modern vocation of critique” (104). Thus, in Said’s works, Auerbach as the “source and icon of a secular critical practice” becomes “worlded” through the “ethical imperative of loss and displacement” (“Auerbach in Istanbul” 106). But how does Said’s “ethical imperative” derive from this “critical distance”? Mufti ignores the many references to the concept of hospitality in Said, particularly those pertaining to Auerbach’s philological method,21 and prefers to harvest the notion of “secularism imbued with the experience of minority” as an alternative to “contentless cosmopolitanism” (“Auerbach in Istanbul” 94). As a closer reading of the chapter “Secular Criticism” in WTC will reveal, Auerbach’s significance for Said has close ties to the exploration of philosophical boundaries between home and exile, host and guest, power and resistance. 21  For example when Said comments that “philology as applied to Weltliteratur involved a profound humanistic spirit deployed with generosity and, if I may use the word, hospitality. Thus the interpreter’s mind actively makes a place in it for a foreign Other” (Said, “Orientalism Once More” 876).  54  The opening chapter of WTC is also where Auerbach’s Oriental location is foregrounded to explain his critical distance from his “home” culture, that is, Germany. Arnold, Renan, and Massignon are criticized in this book for operating from within their culture for their own culture. The paragraphs where Said poses Erich Auerbach as the exemplary secular and worlded critic are preceded by an appraisal of modern literary criticism, which Said thinks plunged from the apolitical and rigidly specialized “ideological bourgeois ‘humanism’” to an equally removed and aloof practice of “textuality” in the late seventies (WTC 2-3). The circumstantial and socially determined aspects of texts, or texts as “events” and “history,” were currently being neglected, according to Said. We see an almost Althusserian criticism of the two seemingly opposed highcultural practices (bourgeois humanism and postmodern textuality) that in effect withdraw from true social criticism. Said in fact specifies the state’s assimilating power, in the guise of the “Reaganism” of the eighties as the backdrop for poststructuralist criticism (WTC 4). As we can see, the factor of being outside or part of state ideology is determining for Said as a criterion for just social criticism. His drawing attention to the worldly and historical aspect of human life prepares the way for an appeal to Auerbach’s philology and, most importantly, to Auerbach’s exemption from this assimilative state power through his exile in Istanbul. Said’s conclusion about Auerbach’s critical distance enabled by his exile in Istanbul stems exclusively from his reading of Auerbach’s apologetic note in the epilogue to Mimesis on how the book came into being despite and because of the “lack of a rich and specialized library” in Istanbul (Auerbach, Mimesis 557). Said’s interpretation of this note is both complex and intriguing. There are two points supporting Said’s elucidation: First, he understands this note as testimonial to the fact that Auerbach in Istanbul was “hopelessly out of touch with the formidable tradition” of German Romance scholarship (WTC 6). Second, he perceives  55  Auerbach’s emphasis on the location Istanbul as a confirmation of its pure and symbolic Oriental character, which was a prejudice created by the “exaggerated boundary between Europe and Orient” in European tradition (8). In a way, Said accuses Auerbach of Orientalism, and yet uses these two points as positive factors in Auerbach’s much appreciated “critical distance” to Europe. The facts and personal letters about Auerbach’s time in Istanbul reveal quite a different picture, to which I will turn shortly. Whether based on facts or not, such a symbolic elucidation of Auerbach’s exilic location (being removed from his affiliation with the specialized discipline of Romance philology and being removed from his European filiations) helps Said launch a cultural critique that depends a great deal on “the notion of place” and is vitally opposed to “being at home in a place” (WTC 8). While I acknowledge the cosmopolitan, secular and counter-hegemonic prerequisites that Said sets for his criticism,22 I will focus on the philosophical or ethical rather than social premise of the phrase “being at home.” As a matter of fact, Said speaks of being at home in “culture,” meaning “an environment, process, and hegemony in which individuals and their works are embedded [and] overseen at the top by a superstructure and at the base by a whole series of methodological attitudes” (WTC 8). It is from here that Said moves to the negative example of Matthew Arnold’s elevated sense of culture. A philosophical perspective, specifically that of a deconstructive hospitality, allows us to perceive the host and guest as strategically and temporarily assumed positions rather than unchanging roles wholly dependent on the physical locale as Said’s rhetorical gesture implies. The lives and legacies of Matthew Arnold and Erich  22  In fact, Said’s privileging of the exilic critic has been received through these aspects so far by critics like Bruce Robbins in Secular Vocations: Intellectuals, Professionalism, Culture (1993), Aamir Mufti in his various works on Said, and Paul Bové in Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power (2000).  56  Auerbach, even as they are made to conform to Said’s limited agenda, perfectly exemplify how blurry and instantaneous the boundary between host and guest can be within an ethical relation. Nevertheless, my intention is not to point any philosophical error on Said’s part but to acknowledge his purposeful acceptance of the role of the guest as an ethical response to the urgencies he perceives around him. This is a choice Said has made since his work Beginnings: Intention and Method (1975), in which he set out a method of objective subjectivity that derives from other theories besides Auerbach’s definition of perspectivism in an historical-philological study as Ansatzpunkt (starting with the close reading of a text towards a historical thesis). This background can best explain how the awareness of one’s “beginning intention,” without the pretence of permanence or universality, is for Said the most ethical form of criticism. Auerbach for Said is a positive example because their beginning intentions are similar: Auerbach is in the double bind of being a guest both as an Orientalized, Semitic Jew within European culture and as a European in his Oriental exile. Said feels the same way about himself as an Arab professor of nineteenth-century English literature, which tells him that his Semitic nature is incompatible with what he studies and that he could at best be a guest mimicking the host. Said, therefore, anticipates deconstructive exemplarism because he believes that cultural difference in face of the radically Other can be best asserted by the expression of one’s own particularity through a common language, such as philosophy or literature. Auerbach, who is not at all a marginal figure to literary criticism, serves well for Said’s purpose as an exemplary figure through whom he can relate his own particularity. It is for this reason that Said brings to the foreground the personal circumstances of Auerbach, who himself makes very few references in his works to personal experiences or contemporary events of his time. Though Said mainly values Auerbach’s notion of Ansatzpunkt  57  as a form of historicism based on close reading, he quite frequently elevates it to an ethics that is determined by the concrete circumstances a subject finds himself or herself in. For example, Said admits that his book “Orientalism is very much tied to the tumultuous dynamics of contemporary history” (“Orientalism Once More” 870), just as Auerbach’s Mimesis, he affirms in the “Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of Mimesis,”23 reflects the “paradox of a Prussian Jewish scholar in Turkish, Muslim, non-European exile handling (perhaps juggling) charged, and in many ways irreconcilable, sets of antinomies” (Humanism 98). In this more recently written introduction, Said reviews the contents of Mimesis through what he believes is Auerbach’s personal and historical situatedness. As a Prussian German specializing in Romance languages, as Prussian nationalism defined itself in opposition to France during and after World War I, Auerbach wrote “with a welcoming, hospitable attitude of humanistic knowledge designed to realign warring cultures in a relationship of mutuality and reciprocity”(Humanism 93). Said reminds us that Auerbach was also a Prussian Jew who was “negotiating between the Jewish and European (hence Christian) components of his identity” (Humanism 102). Hence, Said makes the connection between the dynamic roles that Auerbach embodied and the methodical convenience of explaining larger cultural and historical phenomena through minute analysis of terms such as figura, sermo humilis, high and low style. As Said admits himself, “Auerbach’s Jewishness is something one can only speculate about, …since he does not refer to it directly in Mimesis” (Humanism 97). Auerbach’s liminal identity together with his ability to bring out the antagonisms, mimicry and interactions between the guest and host identities in literary history, are obviously things that Said identifies with as an intellectual wedged between 23  Edward Said’s “Introduction to Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis” in Humanism and Democratic Criticism is a reprint from the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of Mimesis (2003), and is also published in Boundary 2 with the title “Erich Auerbach, Critic of the Earthly World”. My citations will refer to its latest publication in Humanism and Democratic Criticism.  58  the East and the West with the mission to remain critically distant from either side. The individual chapters of Mimesis start with the precise analysis of examples and move towards a larger conclusion about an era of European literary history, and together the chapters culminate in a thesis about the current historical situation of Europe, which according to Said is Auerbach foreseeing the “downfall of Europe, and Germany in particular” (Humanism 115). Similarly, Said’s book Orientalism starts with the criticism of “exemplary” Orientalist scholars while consciously avoiding some others, quite like the synoptic gesture in Mimesis, to represent an era in European thought while triumphantly announcing the downfall of Western epistemology (WTC 275). In fact, Auerbach’s method of Ansatzpunkt remains a repeated defence of Orientalism’s historical situatedness. Self-conscious historicism turns for Said into the expression of his subject position and thus into the ethical stance he has taken in Orientalism. In his later writings, Said moves away from this defensive position to a more reciprocal relation between the East and the West. In his lecture “Orientalism Once More,”24 he reflects on how European history consists of binaries, of hosts and guests, friends and foes: “neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability; each is made up of human effort, partly affirmation, partly identification of the Other” (870). Not only does he acknowledge his own role in the polarization of East and West, but Said himself becomes increasingly deconstructive when he values Auerbach as being situated in between polarities rather than representing a singular minority position, and for his ability to bring out the “fruitful inner tension” of European literary history (Humanism 104). Later, when he admits that his book Orientalism has “lent itself to increasing misrepresentation and misinterpretation,” Said pays his  24  Given by Said at the Institute of Social Studies in May 2003, and published posthumously in the journal Development and Change in 2004.  59  dues to the tradition of European humanities and the institution of the university for making it possible to write such a provocative work in the first place (“Orientalism Once More” 869). In this sense, he situates his own critical legacy in relation to the literary institution, where he sees himself as the direct heir of Auerbachian comparative traditions. In sum, what Said appreciates in Auerbach’s dynamic identity is that he always remains Other rather than blending in and domesticating into the transverse power structures of his current location. According to Said, Auerbach was not only physically a guest in Istanbul but also was made a guest as a Jew in the West through the implicit anti-Semitism in philological scholarship that orientalized European Jewry, reinforcing the myth of the Jew as the outsider. Thus, Auerbach’s “strategic location” as a critic determines Said’s interpretation of the Western canon in Mimesis as the welcoming of world literature (Orientalism 20). He sees Auerbach’s Mimesis as an attempt to rewrite the genealogy, or otherwise expressed, to change the “home rules” in order to defy his status as a guest in Europe. Said, we may say, is in exile in the West though never quite home in the East, while Auerbach is exiled in the East and rejected by his homeland. Said is expected to represent the East as an Arab professor in the West and the West in the Middle East—with the added difficulty of being an American Palestinian in America in the late twentieth century. Auerbach, likewise, as a German Jewish professor in Istanbul is expected to or takes on the role of representing the West to the East during a time of war between nations and nationalism. Thus, what Said and Auerbach have both in common is that their positions as either the host or the guest are complex, ambiguous and shifting.  60  The Hegemony of Erich Auerbach’s Western Canon in Mimesis My personal enlightenment happened sometime between the tenth grade and eleventh grade in the dark, small library of my high school in Turkey, where the only literary works were the books published by the Turkish Ministry of National Education. These were paperback books in a uniform cover and printed on cheap paper, which constituted the minimum library collection in high schools all over Turkey. In hindsight, these publications were a curious collection. They contained the Greek classics, Dante, Cervantes, almost all the canonical French and Russian novels of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some German literature, no British literature except for Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf, and only a few of the great Muslim classics, such as Averroes, and Ibn Arabi—the ones widely received and accepted in the West. It is hard to overlook the detail that the Western canon readily available in every school of the country to the children of the new Republic was a Romance-oriented one, very much in line with Erich Auerbach’s representation of Western literature in Mimesis. The scarcity of Eastern/Muslim classics in the library undoubtedly complied with the Western and secular orientation of the new Turkish Republic. Auerbach’s monolithic summary of “Western Literature” now became the literary past of a nation that formerly was only acquainted with Islamic literature and culture. Later I found out about the activities of “Tercüme Bürosu [office for translation],” which was founded in the 1940s in Ankara with the aim of translating Western classical and contemporary literature into modern Turkish, and which indeed had a direct relation to Auerbach’s teaching activities while at Istanbul University. Not only were the primary translators all students of Auerbach (Sabiha Rifat, Azra Erhat, Erol Güney, among others), but the number of initial translations from various European languages also reflected the contents of  61  Mimesis (out of 638 translations, 210 were from French, 90 from German, 78 from Russian, 65 from English, and only 34 were from Eastern languages).25 Moreover, once I started my undergraduate studies in Ankara at the English/German Language Department, I was again referred to Mimesis by my professors for the “correct” way to interpret literature, to which I reacted by consulting critics like Georg Lukács and Terry Eagleton instead. It is because of this Turkish background then that I was very surprised to find out that Auerbach was a model for Edward Said’s “secular critic” primarily through his interpretation of Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, that monument of Enlightenment humanism with an exclusive interest in Graeco-Latin-Judaeo-Christian culture. The pedagogical influence of Auerbach’s philology in Turkey might indeed be a special case because of Auerbach’s timely arrival immediately following the overhaul of the Turkish education system. However, it is also a fact that Mimesis was not considered a marginal work at its initial reception in North America either. Despite some criticism of minor, factual details, it was considered a “masterpiece” for its “uniqueness and distinction,” and its brilliant “combination of synchronic and diachronic observations,”—the same reason my professors included Mimesis in our literary curriculum (Orientalism 20). I have no doubt that Mimesis had a similar pedagogical function in the American literature departments as it had in Turkey.26 Thus, it does not only seem peculiar that Said evokes Auerbach in contrast to Arnoldian high culture, but also that Said’s reading of Auerbach found credibility among postcolonial critics who  25  On the activities and function of “Tercüme Bürosu” see Azra Erhat’s “Tercüme Bürosu” in Sevgi Yönetimi, Yavuz Bayram’s “Karşılaştırmalı Edebiyat Bilimi ve Bir Uygulama,” and Arnold Reisman “Bringing the Best Western Classical Literature to Turkish Masses.” 26 Carl Landauer, for example, in his chapter “Auerbach’s Performance and the American Academy, or How New Haven Stole the Idea of Mimesis,” notes that “[f]or the mid-century attempt to apotheosize culture, in a sense to create an Americanized Kultur, Mimesis was an exemplary text” (180).  62  salvaged Auerbach’s diachronic and synchronic philology for contemporary cultural studies. I do not argue that Said and these critics are entirely mistaken in their appraisal of Auerbach. On the contrary, I believe that a combination of Auerbach’s diasporic and exilic27 conditions and the historical and textual strategies in his works, especially ones that emphasize the ethical and responsive aspects of philology, warranted his contemporary reception. I will therefore review some facts and secondary literature about Auerbach’s stay in Istanbul, in order to understand how the Oriental location of his exile has contributed to the achievements of Mimesis. I will then turn to the famous first chapter of Mimesis, “Odysseus’s Scar,” and his essay “Figura” in order to identify the textual strategies that reflect Auerbach’s diasporic and exilic subject positions. As many contemporary critics argue, the comparison of Homer and the Old Testament in the chapter “Odysseus’s Scar,” where Auerbach clearly favours the style of the Old Testament, does indeed reveal an oppositional tension between Judaism and Christianity. Though many critics argue that through such a comparison Auerbach implicitly asserts his Jewishness, I believe that the distinction between classical and biblical style should first be understood through the context of late nineteenth-century German classical philology and biblical criticism, and only second through the question of Auerbach’s ethnicity. The German philological tradition is a more immediate background to the ethical choices Auerbach makes in his historical-philological method that produces a unique and intriguing work like Mimesis. Ethnicity might play a role, but as Said came to acknowledge, the boundary crossings and strategic identities that Auerbach adopts are more important than a singular preference for an ethnic background. As a result, I will argue that Auerbach’s philology was primarily embedded 27  When mentioning Auerbach’s “diasporic” condition, I refer to his Jewish minority background in Germany; and with “exilic” I mean his background as an immigrant in Istanbul as a former German citizen. The same adjectives can also be applied to his later position in post-War America.  63  in its scholarly discourse and polemics. Reading the irregularities in Mimesis as a sign of the revolutionary change towards the inclusion of world literatures in literary studies is simply an overinterpretation. The note about the disadvantages in Istanbul at the end of Mimesis, therefore, should be read literally as an apology addressed to Auerbach’s scholarly community. It only makes sense to read a scholar, who advocated and applied historical contextualization in his criticism, in his own historical context, rather than using him as a ventriloquist for today’s issues about multiculturalism. However, Auerbach did indeed create a historical fissure in literary criticism towards an opening for the study of other-than-European literatures, which was the actual point that made Auerbach so attractive to Said, and directly and indirectly assisted Said’s career as an English professor of Middle Eastern origin. I therefore argue that Auerbach’s historical philology combined with an ethics for interpreting literature democratically and comparatively (a position openly discussed only in the post-exilic writings of Auerbach) displays a deconstructive hospitality that is both violent and welcoming of the Other. Through this approach, I hope to draw attention to the potentially hegemonic effect that Auerbach’s particular European, JudaeoChristian bias had on the modern study of literature. Auerbach’s attention to the dialectical tension between Judaism and Christianity resembles the function of Arnoldian high culture in that it valorizes the indeterminate and moral function of literary interpretation over any other cultural constant. In a contrasting move to the current reception of Auerbach, I propose that Mimesis does indeed represent a certain type of Eurocentrism that nevertheless is deconstructive in that it also emphasizes the inner tensions, heterogeneity and temporality of Europeaness.  64  The “Oriental” Location of Auerbach’s Exile The Oriental location of Auerbach’s exile has become the subject of some recent critical discussions as it evokes theoretical questions about diasporic identities and the epistemological implications of exile. It also sheds some light on other factors that were not taken into account in Said’s reception of Auerbach’s exile.28 An initial reaction to Said’s symbolic use of Auerbach in Oriental exile came from Emily Apter in “Global Translatio: The ‘Invention’ of Comparative Literature, Istanbul, 1933.” Apter tries to correct the misunderstanding, which was partly initiated by Said, of placing the beginnings of comparative literature and translational studies in Auerbach’s exile in Istanbul. Through a number of factual examples, Apter shows that Auerbach remained detached from his exilic location, in comparison to Spitzer, and distanced himself from the modernizing nationalism of the new Turkish Republic. Apter contends that Auerbach’s postscript in Mimesis on the scarcity of resources is a symbolic gesture to establish his distance from the host country. Apter, in fact, is the first one to draw attention to Auerbach’s activities while in exile, such as his refusal to learn Turkish, his antipathy for the nationalistic tenants of the newly established Istanbul University, and the fact that there were enough primary sources of Western literature to enable Auerbach to edit course books for the faculty (216). Auerbach’s voluntary distance from his host culture can be read as an effect of his diasporic identity as a European Jew interfering with his exilic identity in which he was expected to represent the nationalistic tenets of European humanism. The facts of Auerbach’s exile in Istanbul that Apter touches on in her work on Spitzer become the focus of Kader Konuk’s recent articles. She employs a perspective set in the 28  Biographical facts of Auerbach’s exile in Istanbul and his supposed seclusion during this exile have previously been treated in testimonial rather than factual detail in Geoffrey Green’s Literary Criticism and the Structures of History (35-6), and Harry Levin’s Grounds for Comparison (110-6).  65  modernizing Istanbul of Auerbach’s exile rather then the Oriental Istanbul of Said’s Romanticized version. Konuk actually consults Turkish sources and Auerbach’s personal letters, in a gesture that almost reveals Said’s own Orientalism. Said’s driving assumption is that Auerbach considered Istanbul as merely the location of the Oriental other, “the terrible Turk, as well as Islam, the scourge of Christendom, the great Oriental apostasy incarnate” (WTC 6). One point of Konuk’s discovery about Auerbach’s life in Istanbul, in agreement with Apter, is that Auerbach was not comfortable with the nationalism of the new Republic, because it “represented the kernel of nationalist ideology [combined with a] strong commitment to Western scholarship” (“Jewish-German Philologists” 47). Indeed, the only remarks about his host country in Auerbach’s private letters are not about any Oriental characteristics but about the suppression of them by the new state and its modern universities. For example, in a letter written to Walter Benjamin in January 1938, Auerbach criticizes the “renunciation of all existing Islamic cultural tradition, a fastening onto a fantasy ‘ur-Turkey’,” and describes the result of the Republican reforms in Turkey as “nationalism in the superlative with the simultaneous destruction of the historic national character,” and adds that especially the language reforms “made it certain that no one under 25 can any longer understand any sort of religious, literary, or philosophical text more than ten years old” (“Scholarship in Times of Extremes” 751). Another striking fact to which Konuk draws our attention is that the modernizing ideology of the new Turkish Republic valorized the Hellenic heritage of Anatolia over the Ottoman/Islamic cultural heritages. It was mainly for these reasons that classical philologists like Spitzer and Auerbach were invited and not for their cosmopolitan, Jewish backgrounds. Konuk shows us how the reformers of the Turkish education system usually agreed on a “Turkish humanism […] as a movement which sought to recreate Turkish culture by developing a system  66  of education on the basis of Western classical learning” (“Erich Auerbach and the Humanist Reform” 76). This Turkish version of humanism would serve to promote “Turkish national consciousness,” require the early acquisition of Greek and Latin, and a thorough knowledge of the regions of the Byzantine past (79). Konuk elsewhere also argues that Turkey was not the haven for Jewish-German scholars during wartime as it is widely claimed today to prove Turkey’s early, modern cosmopolitanism. In fact, with Auerbach and Spitzer, some Nazi philologists were also hired in the same faculty for similar reasons (“Jewish-German Philologists” 36). It is, for example, interesting that Auerbach in his letter to Walter Benjamin emphasizes that out of the seven assistants that Spitzer left for Auerbach in Istanbul “six [were] of Christian descent,” and that the Turkish government embraced émigré scholars “from whom one can learn without being afraid that they will spread foreign propaganda” (“Scholarship in Times of Extremes” 750-1).29 According to Konuk, it is only today that the presence of GermanJewish scholars in Turkey is “construed as a story that involves the rescuing of Jews,” while at the time, Turkish reformers understood it as the welcoming of European, humanist scholars to give impetus to a “Turkish Renaissance” (“Eternal Guests” 6).30 Overall, Konuk gives enough historical evidence from the period’s assimilationist and anti-Semitic policies to convince us that Auerbach’s Jewishness was not something celebrated or even foregrounded during his exile in Istanbul. Even if we consider that Mimesis was exclusively addressed to the scholarly 29  Konuk provides documentary evidence for the fact that Auerbach and other émigré scholars made a contract with the Turkish government to refrain from politics, and comments: “Émigrés shared with Turkish Jews the status of guests who were expected to refrain from promoting any national agenda other than Turkey’s—be it German or Zionist. Denationalized and secularized, émigrés hence enjoyed the privileges of a European intellectual under the condition of loyalty to the host country” (“Eternal Guests” 20) 30 Konuk’s main evidence for this point is a speech of Reşit Galip, the Minister of Education in 1933, who construed the welcoming of European scholars to Istanbul as a reparation for “the flight of Byzantine scholars to Rome [during the conquest of Constantinople] as something that had provided an important impetus for the Italian Renaissance” (“Eternal guests” 9).  67  community in Europe, it would have been risky for Auerbach to take a Jewish position before the war had reached an end. Thus, what strikes us about the conditions in Istanbul is that, rather than an alien locale of exile, Auerbach encountered there more of what he was trying to escape by leaving Germany. It was not the complete alienness of the Oriental host-culture that dictated the critical distance towards Europe, but rather the adverse effects that European ideas had on non-European cultures. Auerbach indeed was concerned with the assertion of the assimilationist, suppressive mimicry of Turkish nationalism that overemphasized or even constructed cultural particularities. It could be said that he was more concerned with the expression of cultural particularity in this way, and preferred high-cultural harmony as a cultural model for the new Turkish Republic. Though only passively, he was averse to this politics that he was expected to engineer. Mimesis should thus be read not as the expression of his Jewish particularity only, but as a testament to the complexity and heterogeneity of European identity and the dangers of nationalism. Although Auerbach appears to be cynical in his letters about the way the Turks conducted their Europeanization process, there is no evidence showing that he was dismissive towards the Turkish claims for Europeanness or that he believed that the Oriental character of the Turks was entirely incompatible with what they wanted to become, that is, European humanists. We need to take into account that the Hebrew Bible was commonly regarded an artifact of Oriental monotheism (for Herder it was Oriental poetry par excellence) in the philological tradition with which Auerbach was working from. Therefore, if Auerbach started writing about the stylistic superiority of the Hebrew Bible over the Homeric texts in the first chapter of Mimesis, it certainly has to do with the situation he encountered in Turkey, namely purist and primitive nationalism on the one hand and superficial Hellenization conducted through the complete  68  suppression of the Oriental monotheistic past on the other. At the same time, such oppositional tension between the Hebraic and the Hellenic elements is also a proof for the direct transfer of the methods of biblical criticism to the field of literary criticism.  The Harmonious Tension between Hebrew and Hellene in “Odysseus’ Scar” In order to understand Auerbach’s reaction to ethnic and purist notions of identity, we must read Mimesis in the context of German classical and biblical philology of the late nineteenth-century, especially the discussions around Hellenism and Hebraism. The major contribution of Auerbach to modern literary criticism is his analysis of Christian figural interpretation and the classical styles of antiquity through the history of what he calls “Western literature.” This criticism, known as “figural interpretation” is carried out in his colossal work Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (1953, in German 1946), and first laid out as method in a previously written essay “Figura” (1938) published in English as part of Scenes from the Drama of European Literature in 1959. Both works were written during his exile in Istanbul between 1936 and 1947. Auerbach develops the term figura in the essay with the same title as a rhetorical structure at work in the representation of reality in Western literature. He traces the history and use of the Latin word figura to pagan antiquity and compares it to its Greek counterparts schema and typos, where it mostly appears in rhetorical and philosophical contexts meaning either “shape” or “copy.” Auerbach observes that with the Church Fathers, such as Tertullian, Origen and Augustine, the term gains a more historical dimension, meaning “a prophetic event [usually in the Old Testament] foreshadowing things to come” and complemented by the actual fulfillment  69  of the event (usually the coming of Christ or events in the New Testament) (Scenes 29). Most interestingly, Auerbach points out how the Pauline epistles and the distinctly Christian method of allegorism employ figural interpretation “to strip the Old Testament of its normative character and show that it is merely a shadow of things to come” (50) Auerbach asserts that the reverse effect perpetuated on the previously pagan world with the geographical spread of Christianity, where texts, concepts and even objects that were previously secular started to be interpreted figurally, even allegorically with a sense of morality. Finally in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the high rhetorical styles of classical antiquity and the Christian “spiritualistic methods of interpretation” are all diffused (56). At the end, Auerbach states that his purpose in this essay was “to show how on the basis of [the term figura’s] semantic development a word may grow into a historical situation and give rise to structures that will be effective for many centuries” (76). The same ideas are put to work in Mimesis, which starts with a chapter on Homer’s Odysseus in comparison with the Old Testament. Realism in Western literature, according to Auerbach, is the extension of Christian figural interpretation. However, this figurative principle is not only incessantly preserved in all Western literature, it is also undermined through waves of outside influences such as classicism, pagan beliefs, or philosophical currents. Throughout the chapters of Mimesis, the tension between classical antiquity and Christian figurations of the Old Testament is demonstrated in the works of various authors from the Western world, from Petronius to Virginia Woolf. One can clearly see the colossal achievement of Mimesis for literary criticism. It provides a summary not only of Western literature but also the cultural history of European humanism. Therefore, I see Mimesis mainly as a work at the crossroad between the historical-critical principles of German historical philology and the synchronic methods of New Criticism. Postcolonial readings of Mimesis today are perhaps taking more into consideration  70  what comes after—and thereby overemphasize its subversive aspects—rather than what came before, namely the German, humanist tradition of historical philology. The only recent criticism of Mimesis through the background of German philological disciplines appears in James I. Porter’s article “Erich Auerbach and the Judaizing of Philology” (2008). Porter’s contextualizing of the dominant tension between classical and biblical styles in Mimesis within the “local, German context” instead of the “mythologized” version that takes Auerbach as “lonely comparativist writing without the benefit of a library in a non-European land” is an earnest, historicizing gesture, and parallel to my intentions here (116). Even then, Porter’s argument essentially reflects more the postmodern concern of Jewish difference within Europe rather than drawing attention to the continuity between German historical philology and Auerbach’s Mimesis. Porter argues that the chapter “Odysseus’ Scar” is meant as a provocation to German historical-philology at the time because “the Jews in that chapter are a little too Jewish, while the Greeks are a little too, well, …German” (115). Indeed, as I show in subsequent chapters, German philological studies of the nineteenth century were marked by ideological contrasts like these despite the common image of objective and detached scholarship. The urge to compete with and modify the French brand of Enlightenment due to ongoing political conflict with France, coupled with the particular form that the Jewish question took in German-speaking lands, especially in Prussia, reflected directly onto the discussions in philology and biblical criticism. The tension between Hellenism and Hebraism also came out of this atmosphere and found its way into these “objective” disciplines. I think Auerbach was primarily conversing with this background. While there was an increasing, Romantic interest in the Old Testament as the natural poetry of the Hebrews, the association of  71  the Oriental, Semitic Hebrews with the now orientalized Jewish minority in the Germanspeaking lands caused anxiety because it threatened the long-desired unification of Germany. As a result, the dominant, liberal-Protestant breed of German classical and biblical philology tended to be philhellenic, in some cases even visibly pro-Teutonic, while rejecting the Hebrew and Semitic elements of German culture and Christianity. Porter successfully draws attention to this background in his analysis of “Odysseus’ Scar.” For example, he claims that when Auerbach prefers the historical depth of the Old Testament to the rhetoric and dependence on legend in Homer, he is actually settling historicism and realism against the speculative reason of German transcendental idealism and the use of Teutonic mythology: “Auerbach’s view of historical reality, with its plunging verticalities, is full of terror and of beautiful potential [and] might well be called Abrahamic” (156). As we will see in Chapter Three, Auerbach was not nearly as radical in his claim for an Abrahamic tradition as Geiger was in his historical scholarship. While Porter’s claims are in line with contemporary interest in Jewishness as part of Abrahamic tradition, I find that Mimesis from this perspective will be overinterpreted or even misrepresented. I disagree with the idea that Auerbach’s Jewishness “spectacularly emerges in Mimesis” (116). Auerbach at best remains reconciliatory and far removed from asserting Jewish difference. For example, even though Auerbach is not too fond of Homer’s simple and dimensionless style, he is never dismissive about the classical, Hellenic elements in Western literature. For Auerbach, rather than defending the Abrahamic aspects of Judaism, as far as it can be represented by the Old Testament only (note that even the name “Old Testament” reflects the Christian perspective and not the Judaic one), still assumes an essential and even supersessionist link between Judaism and Christianity. As I will argue further below, Auerbach’s figural interpretation places a special emphasis on the uniquely Christian  72  notions of incarnation and the passion of the Christ (which are accepted by neither of the other two monotheisms) as a precondition to the representation of reality in Western literature. In that sense, I do not see much difference between the “religiosity in literary criticism” that Said criticizes in WTC and the literary criticism of Auerbach (290-5). John D. Dawson in a theological study, on the other hand, places too much emphasis on the continuities between Auerbach’s figural interpretation and the Christian allegorical tradition. Dawson’s convincingly shows that Auerbach’s historicizing reading in Mimesis is not that different than Origen’s allegorism, which is repudiated by Auerbach as being anti-historical. Dawson places critics of Jewish origin such as Daniel Boyarin, Auerbach and Hans Frei in dialogue with Origen, while he discusses how the chosen identities of these critics, whether through a modernist or poststructuralist discourse, determine their opinions of Origen’s allegorism. Unfortunately, Dawson’s study barely states anything about the cultural identities of the figures he discusses; instead, he uses them as facilitators for a defence of Origen from a poststructuralist perspective. Nevertheless, Dawson’s identification of an essentially JudaeoChristian principle in Auerbach’s European literature is worth considering. Dawson, like Porter, contextualizes Mimesis in the biblical studies and classical studies of the time in Germany, where debates were held about whether Christianity should be completely de-Judaized—including the elimination of the Old Testament from the Christian canon—or whether the Old Testament should be preserved after being stripped off its Judaic elements through Christian figural interpretation. Dawson observes that in an attempt to preserve the historical reality of the Old Testament, Auerbach condemns allegorical interpreters like Origen of “stripping” figures and  31  Dawson uses a speech on this subject of Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, Old Testament scholar and archbishop, given two years before Auerbach’s exile to Istanbul in 1935, to contextualize his study.  73  events of the Old Testament of their “concrete reality,” and praises Christian figural interpretation, such as that of Tertullian, for preserving the Jewish character of the Old Testament within a religion of universal claims (114). In the end, Dawson’s argument matters more for Origen’s current reception than for Auerbach’s, since he claims that there is in fact a “functional similarity [between] Origen’s and Auerbach’s common insistence that the history that matters is the history to which the reader relates in ways that affect his or her stance toward self and others in the present” (12). I want to point out what cultural critics of Auerbach nowadays ignore in their enthusiasm to make Auerbach a spokesperson for Jewish particularity and what Dawson takes for granted: Auerbach worked within the paradigm of Judaeo-Christian universalism; more specifically, he accepted a symbiosis model between the Judaic and the Christian elements of European humanism, with a complete disregard for the particularity of contemporary, living Jews, reminiscent of the Arnoldian dialectic between Hebraism and Hellenism. Second, though Dawson’s book contains the word “identity” in the title, Auerbach’s way of fashioning his own Jewish identity by choosing allies and foes in Christian hermeneutical history, as shown in the polarity suggested between Origen and Tertullian, is brushed aside by Dawson. What needs to be added perhaps is that Auerbach was making ethical choices “towards [his] self and the other” by reacting to the racist implications in his subject matter while trying to remain within the discursive limitations of his discipline (Dawson 12). Once Mimesis is contextualized in such disciplinary discussions, poststructuralist over-interpretations of this work or the owning of it for the Christian hermeneutical tradition appear equally flawed.  74  As a side note, I would like to give an example of the disparate interpretations of Mimesis by these two sides. The varied reception of the last chapter of Mimesis, where Auerbach offers a critique of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and for the first time reflects on his own method and historical circumstances, is the case in point. David Damrosch interprets this chapter to make a point for world literature, while Dawson draws a conclusion about Christian hermeneutics. Dawson argues that Auerbach favours Woolf’s novelistic style despite its fragmentary and vague nature, because it is still an extension of the Christian figural interpretation of the Old Testament in that it asks for a “meaning” or a “spirit” while it preserves the concreteness of the present, psychological event: “the texture of life that comes into view by way of the opening up of present occurrence as figura to the depths of the past is the kind of ‘fulfillment’ that Auerbach sees in modern realistic representations” (111). Thus, for Dawson’s Auerbach, the hermeneutical relation between the Old and New Testament is essential to Woolf’s novels, which allow interpretation and literary work, signifier and signified to exist alongside each other. Damrosch in his article “Auerbach in Exile” (1995), on the other hand, observes throughout Mimesis a polarity between “classical (Greek) harmony, order, balance, free play, and presence” and, as revealed in Auerbach’s admiration for Woolf’s fragmentary style, “modernist (Jewish) fragmentation, psychological complexity, and exile or absence” (113). In contrast to Dawson’s, Damrosch’s interpretation of Woolf’s modernism has already dropped the “call for meaning,” or the presence of the signified (Dawson 111). Furthermore, Damrosch notes that Auerbach withdraws his admiration for Virginia Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness by interpreting “the modernist retreat from system and chronology [as paving] the way for the rise of fascism,” thereby relating it to the racial particularism of the Nazi regime (113). Damrosch foregrounds the fact that Auerbach uses “literary analogies” to comment on the political situation in his time, and  75  chooses to ignore that Auerbach might be reacting to modernism from the standpoint of universal humanism and ethics instead of asserting a Jewish particularity, or any type of particularism for that matter. Dawson and Damrosch represent the two poles of the interpretation of Auerbach’s ethical philology. The one reveals the Protestant and universalist aspects of Auerbach’s figural reading and the other argues that Auerbach’s Jewishness has influenced the content of his works a great deal and thus led to the study of a world literature based on the appreciation of local particularities. In other words, one critic emphasizes the hegemonic aspect of Auerbach’s Western canon in Mimesis, and the other the hospitable aspect. I believe that both are true when read through the lens of deconstructive hospitality. Auerbach draws attention to the tensions within the West, even relativizes the value of Western literature; however, as a humanist he favours harmony over opposition, and ultimately establishes a hierarchy in which Western humanistic literature occupies a very special place at the top. In the remaining part of this chapter, I will show how in Auerbach’s essay “Figura” and his chapter “Odysseus’s Scar” the tension between the Judaic and Christian elements of Western literature are nothing more than the extension of the harmonious play of the Hebraic and Hellenic aspects of European culture, reminiscent of Arnold’s notion of high culture. Most critics who read Auerbach’s assertion of Jewish difference in Mimesis, interpret figural interpretation as mainly a historicizing gesture to counter the typological forms of classical Christianity, and take Auerbach’s more detailed analysis of the Old Testament in Mimesis as a sign of privileging the law-bound and concrete aspects of Judaism as opposed to the style and legend-oriented Hellenism of Homer. However, as can be seen in the “Figura” essay,  76  Auerbach also shows interest in the synchronic analysis of forms, structures and styles. For example, Auerbach refers to symbolic and mythical forms, which were “characteristic of primitive cultures” and “first recognized and described by Vico” (Scenes 56). Symbols and myths are not imitations, and their meanings, usually possessing magical power, are contained in themselves; moreover, they are to be found, like “figura,” in religious spheres. Auerbach also distinguishes between figural prophecy and symbol, because the former “relates to an interpretation of history—indeed it is by nature a textual interpretation—while the symbol is a direct interpretation of life and [...] of nature” (Scenes 57). These two ways of interpreting, both new and infinitely old (the “veiled eternal reality” of figural prophecy), are synthesized in the figuration of the Old Testament and henceforth preserved in all Western literature. The exemplary interpretative moment in the New Testament would be “the sacrament of the sacrifice, the Last Supper,” as both a figure and a symbol, giving us “the purest picture of the concretely present, the veiled and tentative, the eternal and supratemporal elements contained in figures” (Scenes 60). Evidently Auerbach does not disregard entirely the symbolic significance of the Passion as a moment combining the diachronic and synchronic elements of figural interpretation. Clearly, Auerbach views the Passion of Jesus, and by extension the gospels of the New Testament, as the generative moment of Western literary tradition. Moreover, in “Odysseus’s Scar,” Auerbach draws his famous conclusion that the Old Testament’s claim to truth is “tyrannical,” since what the [the writer of the Old Testament] produced then, was not primarily oriented towards “realism” (if he succeeded in being realistic, it was merely a means, not an end): it was oriented to truth. … The Bible’s claim to truth is not only far more urgent than Homer’s, it is tyrannical—it excludes all other claims. (Mimesis 14)  77  The “tyrannical” sense of truth which claims sole authority over other realities creates the constant need for interpretation, which “reached such proportions that the real vanished” (15). Even though it is largely agreed that Auerbach is deeper and more sympathetically engaged with the style of the Old Testament in this chapter, he acknowledges the truth claim of the Bible as something negative (“tyrannical”) and even hegemonic. As a matter of fact, while the Jewish perspective subordinates earthly truth to the biblical truth, “the very claim,” explains Auerbach, “forces it to a constant change in its content,” for which the incarnation of Christ in Paul’s mission to the Gentiles is the most striking example (16). Thus, Christianity (or the New Testament), with the symbolic event of incarnation, becomes the first example of realism in Western literature. Judaeo-Christianity is placed in the very heart of literary sensibility, which makes I think, the notion of “world literature” a paradox in Auerbach’s world. Starting the Western literary canon with the Old Testament is indeed a defiant gesture compared to the interests of the mainstream of German classical philology in Auerbach’s milieu. However, it is still far removed from today’s interest in Jewish particularity that is mediated not through the Old Testament only but through particularly Jewish traditions like midrash and the Kabbalah. Auerbach, although placing an emphasis on Jewish names and Hebrew expressions, does not show any interest in the post-biblical and rabbinic traditions of Judaism. Edward Said himself in his introduction to Mimesis is very clear about Auerbach’s Judaeo-Christian bias: Thus for all the complexity of his argument and the minuteness of the often arcane evidence he presents, Auerbach, I believe, is bringing us back to what is essentially Christian doctrines for believers. (Humanism 95) In the preceding pages, Said similarly admits that Auerbach “as Romance philologist was a man of a mission, a European (a Eurocentric) mission” (96). Said, who brought Auerbach to the  78  attention of postcolonial criticism, is also the one who accepts Auerbach’s Eurocentric humanism. In fact, Said never reads an assertion of Judaism in Mimesis. On the other hand, many critics who came after Said and who were partially influenced by him, such as Geoffrey Green, Jesse M. Gellrich, and David Damrosch, take the influence of the Nazi background on Mimesis as a sign of the assertion of Jewish particularity. Few other critics discuss Auerbach’s Eurocentrism. Vassilis Lambropoulos in The Rise of Eurocentrism: Anatomy of Interpretation (1993), for example, claims that Mimesis aspires to be “the Bible of literary criticism,” and that it gives a “sweeping Biblical view of literary history,” and thus reinforces a sense of Eurocentrism with its insistence on Hebraism (5-6). However novel his claim might seem, Lambropoulos approaches Auerbach’s Eurocentrism from the opposite and equally flawed angle by making “Hellenism” the victim, which together with Hebraism is presented as a very loose and changing concept in his sweeping thesis on “Western interpretation.” Michael Holquist, on the other hand, in “The Last European: Erich Auerbach as Precursor in the History of Cultural Criticism,” argues that Mimesis is far from being a monument for Eurocentrism in that it pushes the limits of Europe by over-defining it, and thus turns into a pioneering work of recent cultural criticism. It is only in Auerbach’s post-exilic works, such as Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages (trans. in 1965) and “Philology and Weltliteratur” (1969, in German 1952), that he reflects upon his own methods and his position within “the European drama.” He draws from Vico’s historical relativism the notion that the history of Europe as a totality only “sketches a certain pattern of human destiny [...] a kind of drama” (Literary Language 21). Auerbach’s next conclusion is that this phase of human civilization “is approaching the term of its existence”; therefore, “we must today attempt to form a lucid and coherent picture of this civilization and its unity” (6). Furthermore, in “Philology and  79  Weltliteratur,” for example, Auerbach shows awareness of a certain Eurocentrism in what is emerging as “comparative literature,” or Weltliteratur, of his time. He warns against the “homogenizing” effects of such literary study that is burdened by specialization and economical demands. “In any event, our philological home is the earth: it can no longer be the nation,” he concludes, and adds that “the most priceless and indispensable part of a philologist’s heritage is still his own nation’s culture and language [the Ansatzpunkt]” (“Philology and Weltliteratur” 17). Although, Auerbach in his post-exilic phase in America does indeed critique the Eurocentrism in literary criticism, his Mimesis, complemented by many methodological essays, is imposing a sense of European cultural superiority as the current.  Conclusion In his “Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition” of Mimesis, Edward Said calls for a study of Greek-Arab-Judaeo-Christian cultural interactions in the philological-historical style of Herder and Goethe. However, he does so with Auerbach’s modern awareness that this can only be done from the “limited perspective” of one’s own time and its urgencies (xxxii). This is Said’s praise for Auerbach’s worldly but secular and detached philology, and also a way of relativizing and “worlding” his own theory about Orientalism. The commitments he made throughout his life—his involvement in the Palestinian struggle and his opposition to American politics in the Middle East—form the “beginning intentions” for his literary criticism. Responding to these urgent issues through the language of literary scholarship, which is his own professional discourse, is his way of taking responsibility. His negative depiction of Arnold and his praise of Auerbach in WTC must be understood in this context.  80  Said’s responsibilities and the way these influenced his one-sided critique of Western Orientalism and its literary extensions in the nineteenth century, in a way, undermines the responsibility of literature as the “right to say everything” (Derrida, On the Name 28). Said’s political commitments as an American Palestinian—ironically from a Maronite Christian background—both opens up our discipline to the discussion of Islam and contradictorily makes it more difficult to speak about Islam from within Western discourses. As a result, Said’s writings and his legacy as a public intellectual leave us with a dilemma: What to do next as modern, Western literary critics in the face of Islam? (1) Either we can insist that everything the West does and says will be exclusively Western, Christian, Hellenic, Judaic, Latin, and that it will never include Islam, and that Islam will remain the radically alien, or (2) we can believe that the idea of the West itself consists of tensions and oppositions, that it always was transcultural, transnational, and was determined by histories and cultures in constant contest with each other, and that there is a possibility that Islam can be read as part of this dynamic. As we will see in the following two chapters—both in the context of contemporary Jewish theory and the cultural emancipation struggle of the Jewish minorities in the nineteenth century—questions such as these are closely related to philosophies of alterity. It is worth noting for now that discussions on the alterity of the “Jew,” both within modernity and postmodernity, eerily beckon us towards the current discussions on Islam’s difference within the West. The allegorization of Jewish history by Christian exegesis is the historical extension of the conflict between the spirit and the letter/law since the time of Paul and it has been central to the discussion on Jewish identity today as well as in the nineteenth century. As we have seen, Auerbach does not refute such allegorization but in fact contributes to it through his description of Western literature in Mimesis. I argue that the assertion of Jewish difference and cultural  81  particularity became part of European cultural criticism only after Christian-Protestant universalism was overcome through poststructuralist and postcolonialist theorization. Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction was certainly one of the biggest influences. In the following chapter, I will explore how Derrida’s philosophy contributed or interacted with such assertions of Jewishness that found the Judaeo-Christian hyphenation problematic rather than imagining it as a unified Western identity.  82  CHAPTER TWO  Unsettling the Judaeo-Christian Hyphen [T]he Jew, the name Jew, is a Shibboleth; […] witness to the universal, but by virtue of absolute singularity, dated, marked, incised by virtue of and in the name of the other […]. It marks the fact that there is a ciphered singularity irreducible to any concept, to any knowledge, or even to a history or tradition, be it of a religious kind; a ciphered singularity in which a multiplicity gathers itself. (“Shibboleth” 327 & 338)32  According to Derrida, the code word Shibboleth marks an unassimilable singularity and the collective existence of these singularities within a plurality. However, Derrida tells us that every Shibboleth carries also a “double edge” that marks a “ring of alliance […] for the purpose of denying the other, of denying him passage or life,” thereby alerting us to the dangers of Jewish chosenness and the nationalist violence it may bear (“Shibboleth” 346). Derrida implies that Jewishness can stand for radical otherness and for all people who are marginalized. The figure of the Jew has carried the burden of difference and otherness, and has existed for a long time only in relation to a hyphen, as in Spanish-Jew, German-Jew, or American-Jew. In that sense, the name Jew can be exemplary of the aporia or hyphenated existence of any identity. On the other hand, Derrida points out in his reading of Paul Celan’s poetry that Celan’s association of being a poet with being Jewish amounts to a universalizing of exile, which may imply that “anyone or no one may be Jewish” (“Shibboleth” 341). A view of the Jew as a representative of the marginalized individual will contradictorily erase the particularity of being Jewish. The Jew as a  32  The word “Shibboleth” is used in a biblical parable in Judges 12, where the difference in pronunciation of this word allowed the men of Gilead to identify their Ephraimite enemy at a border crossing. In its more common usage, it also means a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people.  83  poet will erase the Jew as a rabbi. Derrida, however, wants to keep both the poet and the rabbi.33 Therefore, he warns against “this narcissistic and exemplarist temptation,” the act of “acknowledging, or claiming to identify, in what one calls the Jew, the exemplary figure of a universal structure of the living human, to wit, this being originarily indebted, responsible, guilty” (“Abraham, the Other” 12). As soon as a discourse is applied to the aporia of Jewish identity, such as that of exile, multiplicity, or carnality, Jewish identity will lose its radical otherness. Derrida wants to hold on to the aporia in Jewish identity that is always in relation to a momentous hyphen, so that the Jewish experience can be a model for a plurality that is infinitely open to other differences. The integrated and the assimilated culture of modernity consists of non-stable singularities to be discovered besides and not only through Jewish experience. Therefore, if Judaism should be exemplary of anything it should be exemplary for the responsibility towards the radically other to come and yet not announced. It should be so especially because of the suffering of the Holocaust, which also bears the danger of being transformed into an ahistorical metaphor for Jewishness if one is not watchful. Derrida cautions us against such metaphorization when stating that “there is a date of a certain holocaust, the hell of our memory, but there is a holocaust for every date, somewhere in the world at every hour” (Derrida, “Shibboleth” 336). To draw attention to such transcendentalizing tendencies, Derrida reminds us of the “holocaust for every date” and the actuality of death. One may also ask whether this act of metaphorizing the Holocaust as a sign of Jewish difference is not similar to the Christian doctrine of incarnation, where bodily differences are erased with the spiritual meaning assigned to the letter and where the letter itself becomes the body of Christ, so that the 33  In “Edmond Jabès and the Question of the Book” Derrida states, “the difference between the horizon of the original text and exegetic writing makes the difference between the rabbi and the poet irreducible.[...] The original opening of interpretation essentially signifies that there will always be rabbis and poets. And two interpretations of interpretation” (Writing and Difference 67).  84  metaphors and the literal differences of the body are fused and become inseparable. We should be alert to but not alarmed by the fact that Jewish attempts at liberation from Christian-Greek metaphysics may be repeating the very metaphysical concepts that they are trying to overcome. Besides certain concepts or discourses becoming timeless ethnographic or religious metaphors, certain hyphened relations can similarly become stabilized and so lose their qualities as momentous differences or allegiances. The dichotomous adjective of Judaeo-Christian (together with the analogous Greek-Jew or Hebrew-Hellene), which is actually only one of the many hyphens formed out of Judaism, has become an ahistorical metaphor standing either for historical progress through harmonious tension or for the struggle for liberation from hegemonic Western metaphysics. “Are we Jew or are we Greek,” Derrida asks us and continues, “and does the strange dialogue between the Jew and the Greek [carry] the absolute, speculative logic of Hegel?” (Writing and Difference 153). The Greek-Jew dialogue, whether perceived as harmony or as resistance, is a continuation of the Western metaphysics that is built on the confrontational and complementary relation between the Jewish and Christian religions. Especially when this hyphenation is employed for a defence of Jewish particularity, it often falls into the trap of repeating the same Christian metaphysics it tries to overcome. Derrida, by contrast, urges us to turn this relation from a dialogue to a polyphony where each side of the hyphen is open to further hyphenations. Jean-Luc Nancy, likewise, draws attention to the inherent failure of the hyphenation Judaeo-Christian, or of any hyphenation for that matter: “it draws or traces from itself a general de-composition. This de-composition first disunites the three religions called ‘of the book,’ and thus composes with Islam another assemblage and another discontinuity relative to the West” (215-6). In fact, what Nancy is referring to is the assemblage with Islam formed out of this discontinuity of the Judaeo-Christian; that is, Nancy chronologically orders the three  85  monotheisms in relation to Western/Hellenic philosophy. However, Nancy also observes that the Judaeo-Christian hyphen is the “uncomposable and undecomposable non-thought of our history” and somehow remains intact, at least for the time being (217-8). Nancy’s analysis prompts us to ask: Are Jews still other within the West? Or to put it differently, can the Jewish experience in modernity and postmodernity still serve as an example for today’s issues around multiculturalism and religious particularity? On the one hand, David Stern notes that Jewishness, or Judaism as a religion, “is no longer understood as the repressed or suppressed ‘other’ of Western culture” (9). On the other hand, Sander Gilman draws our attention to the striking similarities between today’s discussions around the acceptability of Muslim religious practice and ritual within Europe and the emancipation struggle of the Jews within Enlightenment Europe in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. Gilman argues that the Jewish experience indeed can be a model for the Muslim experience within multicultural Europe (1-22). And he gestures in the direction of literary studies, when he observes that “it is in the world of multiculturalism that literature […] generates the cultural capital to allow an ‘outsider’ to become a multicultural insider” (22). Gilman’s historical insight reminds us that the now abject or threatening image of the practising Muslim or the barbaric Arab could once easily pass as “exotic,” while the now acceptable image of the orthodox Jew within multiculturalism used to represent the violation of decorum in the Enlightened European society of two hundred years ago—while some forms of anti-Semitism unfortunately persist today. No single identity, or trait of identity, ever remains ahistorically marginal or Other. In fact, the designation “radically other,” for example in Derrida’s own usage, means that the other to come is unpredictable. Jews and other marginalized peoples in history provide us with insights  86  into the continual process of other-becoming-the same and the same-resembling-the-other, that is, in Derrida’s terms, the unstable relation of the host and guest within a relation of hospitality. As we will see in the following sections, the Judaeo-Christian hyphenation is usually mediated through a treatment—literary, historical or theological—of the Bible. Though the biblical canons in Judaism and Christianity are substantially different, the culture of a common book of the Bible is more easily accepted in literary studies than the Qur’an considered as part of this same biblical and Abrahamic tradition. Although this dissertation concerns itself mainly with the literary aspects of scriptural interpretation rather than with literature itself, in this chapter I want to emphasize the point that the expression “people of the book” is first and foremost a cultural statement—rather than a religious statement—in which literature partakes. If reading the Qur’an as literature seems to be impossible or irrelevant for the moment, much can be said about treating the Qur’an as part of book culture within Western literary studies. The transnational and diasporic aspects of Muslim identity, at least since the nineteenth century, either directly or via Jewish appropriation, are evident enough that it is possible to talk about a modern, European book culture that no longer refers only to the Bible but now also to the Qur’an. To this end, a certain degree of de-territorializing of critical studies is required; in other words, we need a criticism that moves from a postcolonial towards a diasporic orientation. In 1992 Jonathan Boyarin critiqued the postcolonial studies of his time, particularly Edward Said and Gayatri Spivak, for their “conventional geographical specification of the other outside Europe and America” (80). Since then, critical studies have reoriented themselves to include a consideration of minority literatures and discourses within the West, partly thanks to the efforts of both Jonathan Boyarin and his brother Daniel, who followed a line of cultural  87  theorists like James Clifford, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. However, some territorializing paradigms are repeated even within the Jewish cultural studies that the Boyarins promote. The biggest obstacle itself is the hyphenation “Judaeo-Christian” with its pseudo-universalizing tendencies. Engrained into the Western historic consciousness in the nineteenth century, with its racialized overtones as Hebrew and Hellene, it continues to haunt cultural studies today. Subaltern postcolonial studies and some forms of Jewish cultural studies have repeated the myth of the Judaeo-Christian, thereby making the third Abrahamic religion and its core texts irrelevant to cultural and literary studies. I think this tendency can be put down largely to the habit of territorializing within critical studies, and in the case of Islam, of making it a subject belonging exclusively to Middle Eastern geographies with the consequent disciplinary division in academia. Deterritorialization of Islamic studies will start with the acknowledgement that representations of Islam or oppositional voices in the name of Islam emerge out of the encounter with Western hegemony. To this, the rise of postcolonial studies itself testifies, since that new discipline was primarily initiated by exiled or migrant subjects like Said and Spivak, listening to the voice of the distant other, beginning with the other within. Including Islam as a history, a collective memory and a body of texts within broader, even high-cultural discussions will not only give voice to the millions of identities within the West but eventually will empower thirdworld scholars in their own locations. This is why I believe that the openness to the radically other in Derrida’s theory of hospitality is the most suitable discourse for making Islam’s scripture and tradition part of theoretical and cultural discussions today. In the first section of this chapter, I will look at examples from contemporary Jewish theory that see modernity as an ongoing tension between the Judaic and the Christian elements of Western culture rather than an allegiance. Such assertions of Jewish identity usually involve the  88  reading of biblical material and intersect with the poststructuralist theory of Derrida as well as with literary criticism. The Jewish theorists that will be treated in this chapter were selected because they are aware of the singularity of the identity they want to assert and yet they “testify to the features of structures nevertheless universal” (Derrida, Monolingualism 20), in this case to poststructuralist theories The main inquiry of this chapter thus will be to ask how one can testify to the irreducible singularity of the Other—Jewish, Muslim, woman—and still be representative of something universal—Jewish, Muslim, woman—the aim being the formulation of a deconstructive reading of the past that will work towards the assertion of a Muslim identity or difference. The examples accounted for and critiqued here all testify to deconstructive exemplarity, that is, they demonstrate how a subjectivity (Jewishness) can be best expressed in relation to one’s Other (Christianity) and how the Other’s image eventually determines how the self defines itself. It will become apparent that I favour certain expressions of Jewish particularity over others, particularly when there is a danger that Jewish qualities may otherwise be sublimated, essentialized or turned into timeless metaphors. In the first section I look at critics who highlight the supersessionism implied in the hyphenated designation of Judaeo-Christianity by expressing Jewish difference in terms of textuality, memory/historicity or materiality. I argue that the expression of Jewish particularity by these means was only possible once Christian-Protestant universalism was overcome through poststructuralist and postcolonial theories. I suggest that the Jewish experience in post/modernity can be exemplary for the assertion of Muslim difference within the West without necessarily leading to a clash of cultures or assimilation of the minority culture into the host culture. Today multiple cultural readings of Muslim scripture can lead to a multiplicity of Muslim identities. However, the singularity and cohesion of the Qur’an, which is its main claim  89  for difference in the face of the previous biblical traditions, must also be acknowledged in the process. In the second section of the chapter, the focus shifts to Jacques Derrida’s discussion on Islam’s place within the Judaeo-Christian/Graeco-Latin culture of Europe and its relation to his own Arab-Jewish background. The two historical and interpretive concepts of Derrida that I use to express the possibility of Muslim difference in literary theory are “deconstructive exemplarity” and “Abrahamic hospitality.” Some discourses can turn names like “the Jew” into dangerous and monolithic entities, either to be attacked or to be valorized—anti-Semitism is certainly not a thing of the past. The same can happen to the name “Muslim” as well. The goal of this discussion is to approach an understanding that there is no single Islam nor any uniform Muslim identity and that there are only performed identities. Despite our postmodern theories’ focusing on multiplicity as opposed to unchanging or homogeneous identities, our discourses on Islam outside and inside academia can sometimes resort to interpretations that still privilege the act of grasping the whole of or revealing the meaning behind the name Islam, just as was done to Judaism in the nineteenth century by gentiles and by Jews alike. What we need is a way of reading Islam that can effectively caution us against this homogenization but that does not ignore the need for talking about a singular/universal Islam. The last section below, dealing with Derrida’s writings, will show that reading the past through deconstruction involves reading and writing with an openness and an acknowledged responsiveness towards the Other that is decided on at the moment with hospitality.  90  FORMS OF JEWISH DIFFERENCE  Textuality “Of course, resemblance is not identity. But the mapping of resemblance is often the closest we can get to knowing identity of any sort” (Hartman and Budick x). The resemblance that Geoffrey Hartman in the introduction to the book Midrash and Literature (1986) is referring to is one between the rabbinic exegesis of midrash and poststructuralism, more specifically deconstruction, around the time when Derrida’s philosophy was peaking in popularity. This resemblance was in fact a “mapping of difference” of Judaism, namely by a focusing on the rabbinic traditions that developed and defined themselves in opposition to the Graeco-Christian hermeneutical traditions. Rabbinic exegesis that was previously considered unsystematic, subjective and marginal by nineteenth-century biblical scholars, both Jewish and Christian—only entered the discourse of criticism with the subsequent questioning of the epistemological dominance of scientific method and the repressive aspects of Enlightenment universality. In fact, midrash served as a point of reference within poststructuralism, particularly within deconstruction, to test the Graeco-Christian limits of literary criticism. The initial articulation of a resemblance between poststructuralism and midrash came in Susan Handelman’s The Slayers of Moses: The Emergence of Rabbinic Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory (1982). The insistence on the Hebraic aspects of the interpretive act, often set against the primary text-oriented classicism of the New Critics, was not new in the literary academy; it was often articulated in the “deconstructionist” criticisms of the Yale school, most prominently by Geoffrey Hartman in Criticism in the Wilderness (1980) and in Harold Bloom’s  91  Kabbalah and Criticism (1975). The attempt to de-Hellenize literary criticism can also be traced back to critics like Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe and even to Erich Auerbach. The poststructuralist re-interpretation of Jewish history and tradition also bears a resemblance to the Wissenschaft des Judentums of the nineteenth century that is considered the beginning of modern Jewish studies in that it attempts to adapt a religious tradition to existing philosophical currents (Hartman and Budick xii; Stern 7). However, Handelman’s work constitutes a first in that it takes these hints further and engages literary theory with a normative Jewish tradition like midrash (the canonicity of which is not disputed like that of Kabbalah) that developed in spite of and in opposition to the Christian and Platonic traditions; in Handelman’s own words, her book “concentrates more on the eras of antagonism than the moments of accommodation” between the two traditions (3). Handelman’s study exemplifies the early phase of poststructuralism in that it focuses on the textual and semiotic features of Christian and Jewish ways of reading texts. Handelman traces midrash’s ontological difference to two historical sources: first, the syllogism arising from the mathematical thinking in Greek philosophy that disrupted “the original unity of word and thing, speech and thought, discourse and truth” (4); second, to the patristic and Greek desire to separate letter from spirit and to overcome scripture through the incarnation of the divine word in Jesus. Handelman argues that the Christian spiritualization of scripture in effect resulted in a radically literalized representation of Judaism in the sense that the “exiled, wandering, mourning, condemned outcast, accused of unredeemed original sin, [became] the Jew, the carrier of letter, the cultist of Writing” (169). Such a genealogy of Western logocentrism is familiar to us from Derrida’s work, particularly in Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference, to which Handelman makes ample references. With such a historical background and such modern resemblances in mind, Handelman establishes the most important feature of  92  midrash as the willful rejection of a logocentric exegesis. In Daniel Boyarin’s words, she gives an account of “midrash …as a token of what commentary might look like in a world without Logos” (“Midrash” 169). She establishes the tropes of similarity between poststructuralist theory and midrash by the function of the text as signifier: The tendency to gather various meanings into a one [logos] […] is characteristic of Greek thought in general: its movement towards the universal, the general, the univocal. The Rabbinic tendency, by contrast, is towards differentiation, metaphorical multiplicity, multiple meaning [without] the confinement of meaning within the ontology of substance. (This liberation from the ontology of substance is, of course, precisely Derrida’s intent.) (Handelman 33)  Handelman evokes Derrida’s concept of “white mythology”34 whereby Western metaphysics, through the Christian doctrine of incarnation of the word and the mathematical/scientific thinking of Greek philosophy, “blanked out the recognition of itself as mythology and has taken itself for literal truth” (17). Midrash, on the other hand, resisted the literalization of the metaphor and maintained the search for the “original language, the concrete meaning behind the abstract concept” (18-9); therefore, Handelman argues, “rabbinic interpretation is not from one opposing sphere to another, from the sensible to the nonsensible, but rather ‘from sense to sense,’ a movement into text, not out of it” (21). Handelman gives specific consideration to the theories of metaphor in Freud, Lacan, and Lévi-Strauss besides Derrida, and often contrasts them to the “restitution of metaphorical consciousness” in Gadamer and Ricoeur’s theories (17). For Handelman the value of midrash for contemporary theory is the legitimation of an “infinity of meanings and plurality of interpretation,” as opposed to the Graeco-Christian insistence on the Logos as unified meaning (21).  34  Derrida’s essay “White Mythology” was published in New Literary History in 1974.  93  Though Handelman’s reasoning is too extensive and intricate to be briefly summarized here, I will critique certain features of this “mapping of resemblance.” Handelman’s reasoning starts by focusing on the contingency of language in the biblical passage, “in the beginning God created the heavens and earth” (17). Not only does she ignore the implication that God’s will comes before this contingency, but she also falls under the power of the Hellene-and-Hebrew dichotomy when making this Hebrew “contingency” the source for interpretation itself when contrasted to the materialism or “realism” of Greek thought. Unsurprisingly, Handelman uses Auerbach’s chapter “Odysseus’s Scar” to back up her argument on the “interpretive urge” in the Hebrew Bible (29-30). However, Handelman ignores the “tyranny of truth” of the Hebrew Bible that Auerbach points out and favours the infinite possibilities and multiplicities that this urge towards interpretation suggests. Her selectiveness almost fetishizes the act of interpretation, clearly with the motive to make midrash appealing to modern literary theory. Even when done for the sake of resemblance—and Handelman refers to Derrida to justify the need for resemblances—she disregards the possibility that for the rabbis who produced the midrash the book and God’s will behind the book were the limits of their interpretation. Besides misrepresenting midrash, such an argument also contains a misrepresentation of Derrida’s thought. Simply put, it makes Derrida look very biblical. For example, the title of a chapter becomes “Reb Derissa’s Scripture” and deconstruction is called “a new religion of Writing” (Handelman 163-4).35 Derrida’s concept of différance, in fact, goes beyond the contingency of the word, beyond creation and beyond the book. Deconstruction takes the metaphoric relation itself as anterior to any theological presence as metaphor and therefore calls for a radical otherness in writing/interpreting, without the anticipation of a meaning or any limitation on 35  Derrida provocatively signs off his essay “Edmond Jabès and the Question of the Book” with the signature “Reb Rida” (Writing and Difference 67).  94  meaning. Through the same logic, Handelman also presents deconstruction as a tipping towards midrashic interpretation, or in other words, a privileging of the Hebrew pole of the familiar dichotomy, whereas deconstruction draws attention to the relation between such poles, neither ignoring nor favouring one side over the other. My intention is not to be merely critical but to point out the consequences of Handelman’s argument. Just as “literature” in the West was essentialized as the harmonious tension of Judaeo-Christianity in Arnold’s and Auerbach’s criticism, Handelman in a way essentializes interpretation and multiplicity as Jewish. Although multiculturalism and pluralism are at stake here, high culture in its literary and critical aspects is territorialized, once again, between Athens and Jerusalem. Handelman falls for the “temptation of exemplarity” (Derrida, “Abraham, the Other” 12) in accepting the very assumption she is critical of; namely that the “exilic, wandering Jew” is the embodied metaphor for textuality and infinite criticism (Handelman 169). Textuality becomes an ethnographic metaphor for Jewishness. At the end, the resemblances established between midrash and literary theory can be said to be a sort of Jewish “liberation hermeneutics,” failing the larger project of promoting cultural plurality (Sugirtharajah, The Bible and the Third World 259).36 The resemblances forged between midrash and deconstruction are based on the assumption that midrash is unsystematic, fragmented and thus open to endless interpretation. However, we must also take into consideration that the representation of midrash as “unsystematic” is the result of Graeco-Christian hermeneutics and partly of Enlightenment 36  Sugirtharajah’s notion of “liberation hermeneutics” is used to define a certain type of biblical criticism that aims to “dismantle hegemonic interpretations” and to “undermine the certitude of dominant biblical scholarship,” but one that is still entrenched “within the modernistic framework” and does not fully embrace “postmodernism for its liberative cause” (The Bible and the Third World 259).  95  rationalism and does not necessarily mean that the rabbis celebrated their own work for these qualities. In that sense, Handelman’s association of midrash with Derrida’s theory reminds us of the resemblances detected between deconstruction and negative theology around the same time. Besides bearing the danger of theologizing Derrida’s philosophy, these sorts of resemblances, as David Stern later points out, exemplify “theory’s imperializing claim” over the representation of midrash, which is something that scholars of midrash found offensive and damaging (5). Handelman’s argument also disintegrates when we are informed, for example by Daniel Boyarin, that midrash did not evolve in isolation but was subject to the influence of logocentrism, particularly in medieval times (“Midrash” 169). To conclude, we must realize the power and necessity of a liberation hermeneutics that to a certain degree operates through establishing resemblances to current theory in order to draw attention to cultural particularities and differences. However, we cannot loose sight of what is universalized, essentialized and given exemplary or metaphoric qualities in this process, thereby suppressing other particularities and differences. According to Handelman’s study, the dialectical struggle between the Hebrew and the Hellene in literary criticism is finalized with the ultimate victory of the Hebrew, this time standing exclusively for Jewish difference. Though the history described in Handleman’s book appears at times polarized between midrash and Graeco-Christian logocentrism, it is nevertheless an inspirational and pioneering work that created a crack in disciplinary walls and brought Jewish studies to the attention of theory. Subsequent attention to the history and use of midrash within literary studies was more self-conscious, as in the volume Midrash and Literature (1986). For example Harold Fisch in one of the essays of this volume warns us that “any attempt to harmonize the theory of the composition of midrash with modern literary theory faces a difficulty so formidable that all that  96  has been said so far is called in question” (Hartman & Budick 231). What I want to focus on next is the opening essay of Midrash and Literature by Geoffrey Hartman, “The Struggle for the Text.” As in Criticism in the Wilderness, Hartman in this essay tries to erase the hierarchy between text and commentary by adding a historical dimension to the textual criticism of the Bible when he asserts, “for any text to remain alive requires the supplementation of commentary” (9). Hartman’s reading of Jacob’s struggle with the angel in the Bible (Genesis 32) demonstrates the significance of the “historical layering” of commentary, a term he borrows from Auerbach’s adjective geschichtet for biblical narratives, meaning both “layered” and “historicized.” Rather than establishing a direct analogy between the biblical qualities of multireferentiality, fragmentation, intertextuality and literary language, as had been done before by critics like Barthes, Levi-Straus and Bakhtin, Hartman here attempts to distinguish between literary fiction and scripture by emphasizing how scripture “leaves traces, which incite and demand interpretation, [and] recalls […] the authority of traditions handed down, each with its truth claim” (13). In other words, Hartman points out that the preceding New Critical and semiotic approaches to the Bible either impose a textual unity and an aesthetic value on scripture or ignore the text’s “teleological impulse” by reading it merely as a collection of legends (15). He refers to Auerbach’s chapter “Odysseus Scar” in Mimesis as maintaining a gap, through the Bible’s truth claim, between fiction and scripture. What Hartman suggests is a contemporary reading of the Bible that is closer to exegesis, such as midrash, and one that would “keep the Bible from becoming literature” (9). In that context, he sees the value of midrash as a mode that preserves layers of tradition with “faith” while answering to concrete human needs in the present:  97  The accreted, promissory narrative we call Scripture is composed of tokens that demand the continuous and precarious intervention of successive generations of interpreters, who must keep the words as well as faith. (Hartman and Budick 17) In this passage, first of all, we read a correction to the simplified resemblances drawn between midrash and literary theory by a consideration of faith. Rather than a theological necessity, “faith” here implies a struggle for cultural identity and the need to preserve that identity through interpretive continuity. Hartman prefers to bring out the “layered” aspect of rabbinic hermeneutics instead of the linear evolution of it parallel to Graeco-Christian traditions, as emphasized by Handelman, precisely because it is the divergence between the layers, its “folds” so to speak, that brings “together radically divergent modes of representation under the sign of difference” (16). What is at stake here is, of course, the continuity of Jewish identity despite and alongside Christianity. The rejection of the Platonic split between meaning and thing and the Christian supersessionism of spirit over letter, Hartman implies, are what keep Jewish identity and the faith in difference alive. The tradition of midrash is preserved through its GraecoChristian Other, without which it would not exist. At first sight, Hartman’s effort seems similar to Handelman’s liberation hermeneutics, that is, forming an alliance with current theory against the hegemony of Graeco-Christian hermeneutics. However, Hartman’s focus on the historical “struggle for text” has its eye on current Jewish self-definition; as a result, midrash’s relevance to theory is starting to become a diachronic rather than a synchronic matter. In a way, Hartman’s interest in midrash is “an effort to find a genealogy, a precursor, for theory itself” while preserving “Judaism as [an] unassimilated foreignness” for today (Stern 4). Hartman appreciates how Auerbach reflects “the depth and concreteness of historical life” in Mimesis and relates to Auerbach’s being an “expatriate victim of German national  98  socialism” (16). Hartman is clearly aware not only of Auerbach’s Jewish subject position but also of his own subject position in the literary critical institution as a Jew. However, Hartman’s theory of midrash still does not leave the bounds of the dialectic between Hebraism and Hellenism. His addition is to make différance diachronically an extension of Jewish thinking or Hebraism. The midrash-and-theory adventure is mainly significant for showing us the limits of theory facing a particular ethnic and religious tradition like midrash. The interest in midrash as textuality ends by hitting the walls of historicism, or more specifically, what gets to be called “Jewish memory.” David Stern in his book Midrash and Theory (1996) summarizes this relationship from the perspective of Jewish studies, and helpfully presents the literary critical interest in midrash as an extension of the Wissenschaft des Judentums of the nineteenth century, which read midrash through the then popular historical philology and as part of the modern struggle to establish “Jewishness as a secular identity” (9). However, Stern notes that the midrash-theory connection tries to overcome the historicisms of existing Jewish studies and follows the theologizing aspirations of the Romantic interpreters of the Bible in order “to find in midrash a kind of hermeneutical metanarrative that would transcend the ironic awareness of history” (10). As the discussion in the next section will show, there were various reasons for the rejection of historicism among post-Holocaust Jewish scholars, one of which was the failure of a hybrid German-Jewish identity that was the main drive behind the Wissenschaft des Judentum’s positivist historicism. The literary critical attempt to revive Jewish traditions in the search for a modern, Jewish selfhood was another way of dealing with the trauma of the Nazi persecution and facing the failures of Jewish intellectualism that preceded the catastrophe. However, as we have seen, the familiar dichotomy of Hebrew and Hellene with its racialized and territorialized  99  meanings mainly invented in the nineteenth century left its marks even on these corrective endeavours in modern times. On the other hand, as Stern notes, the “Jewish criticism” of Bloom and Hartman did “evoke a real excitement among contemporary Jews […] at least within the ‘university’” (10-1). I argue that whatever has been said about the similarities between midrash and deconstruction repeated to a degree the paradigms that such interventions were trying to overcome through an added awareness of différance in place of harmony or dialectics. That said, they served their purpose as a Jewish liberation hermeneutics in a way that Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis did not, since Auerbach’s work primarily contributed to the forming of a “common culture” of JudaeoChristianity rather than its dispersal. And yet, perhaps we should consider that the latter would not have been possible without the former, and that attempts to question the Judaeo-Christian hyphen would not have been possible before such an alliance was even uttered in the form given to it by Auerbach. In fact, the Jewish qualities of Auerbach’s Mimesis came to the foreground in retrospect only after the liberating effects of the alliance between midrash and theory took effect. Most of the essays in the collection Midrash and Literature show an awareness of their performative function for modern Jewish identity. On the other hand, we still see a contrast between the emancipatory insistence on the “difference” or even “essence” of Jewish identity in Hartman’s essay, for example, and Derrida’s conviction that “what is proper to the Jew is to have no property or essence” in the essay "Shibboleth" in the same volume (328). As Ash argues in a review, “Hartman’s and Bloom’s careful definitions of cultural identity (genre, type) would also be considered by Derrida as completely permeable thresholds” (Ash 78).  100  Derrida’s theories on the aporia of cultural and religious identity would open the way to Muslim difference by going beyond the Book in book culture, by which is usually understood the reception of the Bible and rarely the Qur’an. Only when the Qur’an becomes part of this previously biblical book culture in the academy—and outside literary criticism, notably within Islamic studies, this expansion has already taken place—will Muslim “liberation hermeneutics” be taken seriously. But such going beyond the Book initially needs a consideration of its historical dimensions.  Historicity Another way of asserting Jewish identity after the Holocaust was by the exploration of a collective Jewish memory, which was first defined in opposition to Jewish historiography in Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi’s book Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (1982). Yerushalmi’s book concerns itself with the role of “collective memory” in “the survival of a people that has spent most of its life in global dispersion” (5).37 The primary trajectory of the book follows a three-stage development of Jewish historiography within Jewish memory: the biblical/rabbinic, medieval/pre-modern and the modern. According to Yerushalmi, the pagan “repetition of mythic archetypes” and the Hellenic tradition of chronicle met in the Hebrew Bible as an understanding of “meaning in history,” such that God could only be known and remembered through his acts in history. The frequent evocation of memory in the Hebrew Bible as “zokhar” supplies the title of the book. Though a collective memory is now chronicled in 37  The term “collective memory” was first used by Maurice Halbwachs in Le Mémoire Collective (1950) but not in the context of the Jewish people. It was later developed by Pierre Nora in Les Lieux de memoire (1984-94), and by Eric Hobsbawm in Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987). Yerushalmi himself only refers to Halbwachs’s influence in the prologue (xv).  101  written form, it is the ritualistic function (recitation) of the sacred texts that keeps it alive. In that sense, Yerushalmi makes sure that the Bible is not to be confused with historiography. However, he also notes that this Jewish recorded history, even in its mythologized forms, was primarily a concrete and human history. It was after the destruction of the Second Temple and with the move from biblical to rabbinic literature, Yerushalmi contends, that Jews stopped recording history, so that their interpretation of historical events became more “archetypal” and messianic (36-52). Subsequently, after the trauma experienced with the Spanish expulsion, the rabbinic interest in historiography was completely suspended for an interest in myth and mysticism, as in the study of Kabbalah. This later period was also where Jewish memory, through recital and ritual, remained the strongest (57-74). I want to focus briefly on the last section of the book titled “Historiography and its Discontents,” where Yerushalmi moves from a descriptive to a more prescriptive mode as he critiques the scientific historicism of the Wissenschaft des Judentums of the nineteenth century. Yerushalmi argues that the embrace of historiography among the Jews in this century did not naturally evolve from the Jewish tradition or memory, but that it “began precipitously out of that assimilation from without and collapse from within which characterized the sudden emergence of Jews out of the ghetto” (85). Accordingly, Jewish philosophy did not interact with European culture, but instead European Enlightenment philosophy was unquestioningly adapted by Jewish historians for the study of Jewish history. Thus, the encounter between Jewish tradition and the Enlightenment was at best a shallow if not one-sided encounter. To use Yerushalmi’s own words, “Jewish scholarship impinged upon cognate fields of general scholarship, a process now constantly accelerating” (86). The critique here, at once liberating and accusatory, is that “Jewish memory” was sacrificed for the scientific study of Jewish history, whereby the only appeal of  102  Jewish identity became its scientifically identifiable history, instead of its sacred texts, living traditions, or rituals. It other words, Jewish scholars assimilated Jewish history to a Christian epistemology that perceived Judaism as a superseded history. Yerushalmi calls the historiography under the name of Wissenschaft des Judentums “the faith of fallen Jews” (86). While Yerushalmi makes very little reference to the Holocaust, his liberating recovery of Jewish memory can be seen as yet another attempt at finding an ethnographic metaphor for Judaism or for defining “real” and authentic Judaism. In this sense, the valorization of Jewish collective memory bears a similarity to other forms of Jewish thinking after the Holocaust that question the bias towards scientificity and historicity in German-Jewish scholarship of the nineteenth century. Gershom Sholem, for example, devoted his scholarship to the study of Jewish mysticism, which was not taken seriously by his precursors in the Wissenschaft tradition. Scholem also calls the achievements of German-Jewish historical scholarship a “cry in the void,” denies that there was ever a common German-Jewish culture and alleges that the Jewish side tried to assimilate into the host culture.38 Both Yerushalmi and Scholem, it appears, build their own scholarship on the foundations of Wissenschaft des Judentums and yet they are motivated by the urge to salvage a tradition or memory that was previously neglected due to the emphasis on scientificity. There is an implicit accusation against Jewish historiography in their critique for losing an authentic Jewish identity to a hegemonic culture that eventually produced the Holocaust. However, if the self is already formed in the image of its Other, than it carries its Other within its identity, and thus, concerns about assimilation as opposed to the separation of an authentic self are redundant. We will see in Chapter Three, when we come to consider the  38  See, for example, Gershom Scholem’s “Against the Myth of the German-Jewish Dialogue.”  103  dialogue between Mendelssohn and Kant, that the German culture that bore the Aufklärung was already integrating the Jewish influence at its very inception. Yerushalmi also urges his fellow historians not to lose sight of their agency in the world and to avoid antiquarianism in their research. He also recommends a more literary critical awareness as a corrective to historical over-specialization. The divorce of memory from history, he believes, is the “divorce of history from literature,” which “has been calamitous for Jewish […] writing […] because it affects the very image of the past that results” (100). In speaking of literature, he clearly refers to the literature produced after the Holocaust to memorialize the trauma that occurred. Just as subjectivity is expected from this type of memorializing work, so a consideration of collective memory is required for the historical study of a specific group or community. Thus, Yerushalmi concludes, The notion that everything in the past is worth knowing “for its own sake” is a mythology of modern historians, as is the lingering suspicion that a conscious responsibility toward the living concerns of the group must result in history that is somehow less scholarly or “scientific.” (Yerushalmi 100)  Yerushalmi suggests, and I agree with him, that the selectiveness of historical scholarship depends on the scholar’s subject position and his or her current responsibilities towards a group, ethnic or gendered. However, Yerushalmi does not sufficiently allow that this was true for the scholars of Wissenschaft as well, who asserted their diasporic subject positions by preferring one of the dominant philosophical languages of their time, namely universal rationalism, over another one, Romantic nationalism, which territorialized identity, valorized fixed roots and represented literature and folklore as its allies.  104  Although Yerushalmi observes that the catastrophic and disruptive events experienced by the Jewish community result in a turn to myth and internalization, he only vaguely acknowledges that his own appeal to “Jewish memory” is a similar turn in the wake of the Holocaust (see Rosenfeld 510-12). Yerushalmi yearns—self-consciously— for a lost “Jewish memory” and thinks that modern literary forms, particularly the novel, provide a “temporary modern surrogate [for] a new, metahistorical myth” (98). There are several aspects of Yerushalmi’s overall argument that deserve emphasis here. First, his general insight that the trauma of dispersion is usually followed by the construction of communal myths can also be applied to other diasporic communities. Instead of seeing the Jewish diaspora as an ahistorical myth or ideal metaphor for today’s issues around globalism and pluralism, we must use it as a contingent example and be open for further differences instead of essentializing qualities like exile, diaspora, and criticism as Jewish. Such an approach would allow us to recognize other current traumas and the myths they bear. Current thinking, for example, is liable to reinforce the nineteenth-century habit of territorializing and victimizing the Other and the subaltern, which makes an expression like “home-grown terrorists” stand for an anomaly rather than an expected outcome of colonialism. From a Christian-Western point of view, 9/11 is usually represented as the trauma of our generation, creating or enforcing myths about a unified and homogeneous Islam threatening the West. However, we must also remember prior traumas, such as colonialism, the dispersal of Muslim populations, the Iraqi wars, and the occupation of Palestine, which fuelled the myth of the “West” as the hegemonic Other, eventually leading to the 9/11 attacks. Politicians and sometimes even postcolonial theorists tend to geographically locate issues around Islam, either out of malice or good intentions, in the Middle East. However, we must acknowledge that ideas on Western hegemony are generated  105  through the traumatic encounter with or within the West. As a result, though Yerushalmi’s thesis on the importance of myths for the continuity of Jewish identity is valuable; however, we must also be alert to the dangers behind the essentialization and metaphorization of Jewishness as diasporic consciousness.39 Second, Yerushalmi’s liberation hermeneutics regarding Jewish memory does indeed serve the psychological function of memorialization, which clearly is required for the healing of trauma. In this sense, Yerushalmi’s pledge to “literature” to acknowledge its function as a memorial to the traumas of the past caused by religious conflict or persecution (100-1) opens up our discipline to ethnographic studies. Though the view of Jewish collective memory in Yerushalmi’s interpretation is to a degree Romanticized, his monumental book Zakhor has contributed towards a disciplinary opening that has revitalized Jewish studies and turned it into a Jewish cultural studies, or a Jewish self-ethnography, such as is currently practised by scholars like Sander Gilman, and Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin. These scholars usually combine Yerushalmi’s notion of Jewish memory and the historical, psychological, sociological study of the Jewish people with insights from literary criticism and theory. My hope is to see the same happen with Islamic studies. The polarized vision proposed by Yerushalmi in Zakhor is discussed by Amos Funkenstein in Perceptions of Jewish History (1993), in which Funkenstein suggests the category of “historical consciousness” as a mediator between historiography and collective memory. Funkenstein in this book continues the same discussion that started over the role of the 39  It can equally be said that the valorization of diasporic consciousness—whether Jewish or not—is also partially owed to Edward Said’s insistence on the “exilic” subject position as a condition for criticism. Said’s ambivalence towards the Jewish implications of exile have been discussed by Richard H. Amstrong in “Last Words: Said, Freud and Traveling Theory” in Edward Said and Critical Decolonization.  106  historian in asserting Jewish difference. The main contrast between Yerushalmi’s and Funkenstein’s perceptions of Jewish history is that the former emphasizes the ruptures and the latter the continuities and fissures that lead to heterogeneous and yet distinct new phases in Jewish intellectual history. Funkenstein’s historical philosophy suggests that “heresy” in theology and the genre of “counter-history” in historiography, both usually employed for polemics, are the driving force behind the historical understanding and memory of a group or community. In contrast, Yerushalmi’s vision suggests a power struggle whereby a weaker system of thought is assimilated by a stronger one. In his book Theology and Scientific Imagination (1986), Funkenstein argues that modern historical consciousness emerged somewhere between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries not as a sudden rupture but rather as an application of new secular and scientific principles to old theological subjects. The legacy of this work is primarily the tracing of modern thought to medieval theological discussions, which subverts the commonly perceived progression from religious to secular. Funkenstein carefully analyzes sixteenth and seventeenth century sources and traces the changing connotations of medieval theological themes (such as Divine Providence, God’s omnipresence and omnipotence) in the new, secular climate. What happened in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries was, according Funkenstein, the “secularization of theology,” the adopting of theological problems by laymen, such as Spinoza, Leibniz, Newton, Galileo and Vico, who turned the principles of mathematics into the universal base of epistemology. For Funkenstein, this, contrary to what is generally believed, is not a story of the secular rising against the religious but rather a dialectical transformation of ideas, wherein the new always carries traces of the old, and each rupture contains continuity. Therefore, instead of a radical displacement of theological ideas, this epistemological unification, with the Reformation  107  as its background, entailed at the same time a “sacralization of the world and even of ‘everyday life,’” such that the world ceased to be the transitional stage in church history and turned into “God’s temple, and the layman [turned] into its priest” (5-6). Studying the world became a form of worship. The most important outcome of this “secular theology” on the one hand and “sacred science” on the other was the emergence of modern historical consciousness: historiography changed from the scholastic ordering of atomic facts to “contextual reasoning,” whereby “historical fact became ‘understood’ and meaningful only in the context in which it was embedded” (Perceptions 14). Funkenstein adds that this was a result of medieval Christian and Jewish historiography, and specifically of the hermeneutic method of “accommodation” being taken out of its context and becoming a “mode of interpreting present and recent history.” The Lutheran strife to internalize exegesis (Verinnerlichung) meant that the individual also had to make sense of his existence through his context and through his acts in the world. While this idea was “transferred from the religious domain to the secular in the seventeenth century,” it was not until “the nineteenth century that history became the primary discipline of all human sciences” (Perceptions 15). In the first instance, Funkenstein defines “counter-history” as a genre of polemical historiography, one that “[systematically exploits] the adversaries’ most trusted sources against their overt intent” (273). This genre was common from antiquity to the Reformation (Funkenstein’s examples include Manetho’s hostile account of Jewish history, Augustine’s history of Rome in The City of God, and Luther’s account of Church history), but once historicalphilological criticism was established towards the end of the seventeenth century, a more  108  “critical counter-history” emerged in Gottfried Arnold’s “impartial” account of Christianity and its heresies (Unparteyische Kirchen and Ketzerhistorie of 1699). Arnold was a pietistic theologian, and this was the first time “heresies” were taken seriously as necessary for human progress. While in medieval thinking heresies were seen as a providential challenge to the truth of the Church that must be overcome, with Arnold heresies become “the only historical vestiges of Christianity in the time of its decay” (276). Methodical heresies and heresies of dogma became the only way of rejuvenation and means for progress in the secular world. In other words, the medieval genre of polemics under the new light of a unified epistemology (based on mathematical reasoning) gained an “objective” authority, and became “critical counter-history.” Around the same time in Italy, Giambattista Vico was transforming the medieval principle of “accommodation” into his secular Providence, which according to Funkenstein, assigned God’s creative power to “a principle of human creativity” (Theology 289). Vico introduced this “mediatory function of imagination [through introspection]” for reconstructing the realities of geographically and temporally distant cultures (Theology 283). Thus, the study of human civilization, in contrast to the study of physical laws, required the employment of the subjective, the personal and the poetic. Arnold and Vico represent for Funkenstein the spirit of Humanism, which held the personal, the heretical, and the counteractive as favourable qualities that are not necessarily opposed to but can exist alongside the objective, scientific and the normative. Such is the influence of a personal or group memory for Funkenstein, whereas for Yerushalmi modern historical consciousness is “thoroughly at odds with” memory (Yerushalmi 93).  109  Heresies and counter-histories, according to Funkenstein, then, first serve to distort the ideas of the Other and later become the norm to eventually influence the Other’s self-image. In a more recent essay, Funkenstein focuses on the written polemics between Judaism and Christianity, which “reflect[s] or distort[s] the vital ideas of the two religious communities” (“Jews, Christians, and Muslims” 23). Funkenstein argues that Judaism and Christianity were always confrontational religions, or “ideological and historical enemies,” in a way that Judaism and Islam, for example, were not. Accordingly, qualities assigned to Judaism, such as those of being letter-bound, textual, or carnal, stem from the accusations in Christian anti-Jewish polemics. Strikingly, Funkenstein attests that he could “find a Jewish equivalent for every Christian dogma […] even for the dogma of Trinity and the doctrine of Original Sin” (24). In other words, although each community shows within itself a wide range of heterogeneity, the differences between them only become pronounced at the moment of confrontation, namely in their polemical literature. With the passage from Reformation to Humanism and objective science, Funkenstein asserts, this confrontational attitude loses its vital polemical aspect and is replaced by Enlightenment indifference towards Judaism. Up until the nineteenth century, Jewish communities merely “exemplify the disgrace of religious intolerance or the dangers of an ethnocentric particularism. Occasionally, the attack on Judaism was really a cover for an attack on Christianity” (29). Once Jewish people started to become assimilated and emancipated, and “could no longer be outwardly recognized,”—and with the Romantic interest in medievalism— the older anti-Jewish ideologies resurfaced as anti-semitism based on racial science (“Jews, Christians, and Muslims” 29). Funkenstein similarly accounts for the anti-Christian polemics of the Jews that increasingly came to represent Christianity as fallen from true monotheism and as a  110  return to idolatry. He views Geiger’s Jewish historiography and his positive depiction of Islam as the secular extension of these polemical arguments (Perspectives 91). I consider Funkenstein’s attention to polemical confrontation, heresies and counterhistories between religious communities as a type of deconstructive reading, because focusing on the relational self-definition of communities reveals there is no essence on either side but only a difference decided at the moment of confrontation. Ironically, Funkenstein also reveals the essentialism of certain modern discourses on Jewish identity that openly subscribe to deconstruction, such as attempts to establish resemblances between midrash and theory, that valorize textuality, interpretive plurality or carnality as quasi-authentic Jewish qualities. In short, if the relation to its Other defines a community’s self-image, polemical literature and heresies are the best sources for discerning how a community’s ideals and values came to be or are developing at the moment.40 Funkenstein’s own heresy was to revise the Western-Christian canon, and insert medieval Jewish sources, such as Maimonides and Abraham Ibn Ezra, into the genealogy of modern historical consciousness, thereby making it heterogeneous. As David Biale remarks, he “sought to infuse the study of the medieval Christian scholastics with their Jewish counterparts,” and therefore “Jewish intellectual history” assumes in his works “as important a place as a Christian [one]” (3). Funkenstein, with his retrospective search for Jewish influence on Western thought, brings out the heterogeneity behind the identity called European and thereby inserts his own subjective heresy into the very heart of the hegemonic epistemology. He therefore read 40  A similar argument on the role of inter-religious polemics in community formation has been made in relation to Muslim-Christian polemics by Hartmut Bobzin in Der Koran im Zeitalter der Reformation: Studien zur Frühgeschichte der Arabistik und Islamkunde in Europa (1995) and by Hava Lazarus-Yafeh’s in Intertwined Worlds: Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism (1992) .  111  history with hospitality, which I will endeavour to do in tracing Geiger’s possible influence on Western literary history. Funkenstein refers to Abraham Geiger’s research on the origins of Christianity and Islam as “critical counter-history” in his book Perceptions of Jewish History. Yet he ignores the fact that Geiger’s analysis of the Qur’an borders on the apologetic form of counter-history rather than the critical type, since in the spirit of defending Jewish identity against Christian narratives, Geiger robs Islam of its originality and makes it a mere continuation of Judaism. In their respective ways, Yerushalmi and Funkenstein show us that the disciplines of history and literary studies have to join hands and become aware of their common origins, and once again employ contextual reasoning with careful textual study to read the Qur’an and other texts of Islam. Following their examples as histories of Judaism, we need to look a new at the history of European thought and consider too how the study of Islam as the Other may have shaped the identity of Europe as a whole. This is the only way that Islam can once again be considered a living and evolving tradition, rather than an antiquated culture that has been in decline for some time. Responding in particular to Funkenstein’s call, we must respect and recognize the counter-historical or heretical nature of Islam’s representation of itself in face of the West, even of those representations of it that are considered today as apologetic or fundamentalist.  112  Materiality There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) Although at first sight Daniel Boyarin’s theory regarding the affinities between midrash and recent literary criticism appears like the reinstatement of Handelman’s comparison of midrash and theory discussed earlier, Boyarin’s approach differentiates itself in that it focuses on the “matter” of language instead of its textuality (“Midrash” 173). Boyarin takes midrash from the realms of semiotics and historiography and brings it into the field of cultural studies. Boyarin’s claims rest on a type of cultural materialism—or in his own words “cultural dialectics”—that takes as its case study the partition of Christianity from Judaism in antiquity, particularly the struggle for cultural identity between Paul the Apostle, the Greek-speaking Jew, and the subsequent rabbinic tradition of the Aramaic and Hebrew-speaking Jews of Palestine in the first century AD. Boyarin’s argument is that “Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianities were very different from each other in their ideologies of sexuality and thus the self and the collective cannot be subsumed under a rubric of Judaeo-Christianity” (Carnal Israel 6). This argument is most prominently carried out in Boyarin’s books Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (1993) and the complementary A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (1994). In the later book, Boyarin argues that Paul’s identity struggle as a first century Greek-Jew reflects on his life and exemplifies “the paradoxes not only of Jewish identity but […] of all identity as such” (A Radical Jew 3). Paul’s Platonic background meant that he adopted an ontological dualism between body and soul with a striving for oneness and thus his cultural hybridity motivated him to integrate Gentiles and Jews under a heading of universal humanity  113  for which it was necessary to allegorize Jewish scripture and law as Spirit. In contrast, Jews remained ontologically monists. Therefore, in Paul’s writings the “quintessentially different people were Jews and women,” who needed to be subsumed under universality (A Radical Jew 17). Such a thesis on Paul’s universalizing mission recalls previous Pauline scholarship—and Boyarin acknowledges the influence of modern scholars like W. D. Davies, E. P. Sanders and the affinities with the nineteenth-century philologist Ferdinand Christian Baur’s ideas (A Radical Jew 11). Boyarin nuances his argument in that he sees Paul as mainly an “internal critic of his own culture,” therefore neither as anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, nor as a Hellenic elitist. Boyarin asserts that Paul was a genuine egalitarian and stood for tolerance; however, because his egalitarianism “was based on sameness, […] his social thought was deeply flawed” (A Radical Jew 9). Boyarin takes an idea of Baur’s, who in his Hegelianism praises Pauline universalism, and turns it upside down by expressing a preference for Jewish and female particularity and the hermeneutic multiplicity of midrash. As we will see in the next chapter, Boyarin’s argument is a variant of Abraham Geiger’s views on Jesus as a Jewish reformer, though there is no reference to Geiger in either of Boyarin’s books. (Geiger in his scholarship on Judaism was conversing with the Tübingen School of Theology, to which Bauer belonged.) Boyarin’s thesis on the rabbinic discourses on sexuality and the body, and his hermeneutics based on cultural materialism, are most clearly stated in his book Carnal Israel. This is the type of reading of the past that I want to bring to the foreground, which I see as an example of deconstructive hospitality and that Boyarin calls “generous critique.” Boyarin bases the title and the argument of the book on the first-century and patristic distinction between carnal Israel and spiritual Israel, of which the former refers to Hebrew-speaking Jews and the latter to  114  Greek-speaking Jews and early Christians.41 Boyarin argues, through a careful reading of rabbinic literature on sex and the body, that this distinction is in fact valid because “midrash […] seems to precisely refuse [Platonic] dualism, eschewing the inner-outer, visible-invisible, bodysoul dichotomies of [Paul’s] allegorical reading” (Carnal Israel 9). Hellenized Jews such as Paul and Philo were allegorizing Israel in order to promote their Platonic vision of universalism and egalitarianism while rejecting non-Hellenized Judaism as carnal and particularistic mainly through a discourse on the body—and Boyarin demonstrates this on Paul’s reading of the rite of male circumcision in A Radical Jew. On the other hand, rabbinic Judaism maintained its ontological monism to resist these Hellenizing influences: Some Christians (whether Jewish or Gentile) could declare that there is no Greek or Jew, no male or female. No rabbinic Jew could do so, because people are bodies, not spirits, and precisely bodies are marked as male or female, and also marked, through bodily practices and techniques such as circumcision and food taboos, as Jew and Greek as well. (11)  According to Boyarin then, rabbinic Judaism came to emphasize certain characteristics over others in order to protect itself from a threat, which was from within as well as from without. Although this argument in essence is similar to Handelman’s thesis on the evolution of midrash in opposition to and despite Graeco-Christian hermeneutics, Boyarin distinguishes his approach by focusing not on the textual reasons behind this split but on the material and ideological causes. In other words, according to Boyarin the ontological monism of rabbinic Judaism is an  41  Boyarin opens the book with a quote from Augustine’s interpretation of the biblical passage “Behold Israel according to the flesh” (Corinthians 10:18). Paula Fredriksen in Augustine and the Jews: A Christian defense of Jews and Judaism (2008) argues that Augustine tried to revive the egalitarian aspects of Paul’s attitude towards the Jews and was more tolerant towards Judaism than the prior Christian traditions were.  115  example of a culture adapting its ideological position in face of the Other in order to assure the continuity of its community. Clearly, there are also some problems attached to such an interpretation, which Boyarin himself partially acknowledges. First of all, for the sake of bringing out Jewish particularity, Boyarin has to ignore the heterogeneity within rabbinic discourses. Though he admits that rabbinic Judaism in its long history occasionally came close to Hellenic sexual ideologies and asceticism, for example through the influences of Stoicism in the Palestinian era or Arabic philosophy after the Arab conquest, he asserts that it never merged with this Hellenic ideology because it was “founded on an underlying unity, the interpretation of human being as fundamentally and essentially corporeal” (Carnal Israel 29). Second, Boyarin’s argument implies that the rabbinic rejection of dualism also eradicates misogyny to the degree that it becomes a model for today’s feminism.42 As Naomi Seidman in a review of the book points out, such an interpretation would mean “ignoring the inequitable gender politics of talmudic practice,” such as the restrictions on women participating in Torah studies (117). As a defence, Boyarin states that he has “tried to avoid the temptation” of ascribing misogyny exclusively to the Hellenic residue in Christianity, and admits that rabbinic culture is full of gender and sex-role differentiations that clearly are patriarchal. Boyarin cautions against making judgments or indulging in triumphalism, and instead urges a “cultural dialectics” which would allows us to see ideological differences between cultures as “complementary solutions to given cultural problems” (Carnal Israel 22-3). In fact, Boyarin makes it clear that he chooses no sides: Thus, if Hellenistic Judaisms provide an attractive model of human equality and freedom […], they do so at the severe devaluation of sexuality, procreation, and 42  For example, Boyarin compares the rabbinic resistance to dualist ontology to Judith Butler’s feminist critique of Western metaphysics (Carnal Israel 237-9).  116  ethnicity. And if rabbinic Judaism provides a positive orientation to sexual pleasure and ethnic difference, it does so at the cost of determined stratifications of society. (Carnal Israel 231)  While Boyarin insists that the Pauline type of tolerance through leveling differences is flawed, he admits that “its opposite, […] insistence on the special value of particularity [,] is equally flawed” and that “the claims of difference and the desire for universality are both contradictorily necessary” (A Radical Jew 10). Cultural dialectics helps us see both the hospitable and the violent aspects of the ideological solutions of a group or individual to a certain cultural dilemma. It shows us that talking of particularity does not have to be exclusive of universal expression and vice versa. What I think is the most noteworthy interpretive gesture of Boyarin is precisely his acknowledgement of the necessity for a universal language in order to express particularity, which accords with Derrida’s theory of exemplarity. Combing Jewish history and scripture to make it appealing for current theoretical and ideological concerns, in this case by the appeal to “body,” can be seen as a form of apologetics, as Seidman for example judges in her review. Boyarin in fact pleads for a type of apologetics that is nevertheless respectful towards the Other; he calls it a “generous critique, a practice that seeks to criticize the practice of the other from the perspective of the desires and needs of here and now, without reifying the other or placing myself in judgment over him or her on his or her there and then” (Carnal Israel 21). Proposed as a practice for representing the past, such a “generous critique” is dependent on one’s current ethical responsibilities and “province,” by which Boyarin means one’s area of intellectual discourse. Boyarin declares that his intellectual discourse is Judaism, with an expertise in early rabbinic Judaism, and that his “ethical commitment [is] to changing the present gender practices  117  of [the Jewish] culture” (20-1). Thus, Boyarin’s reading of Jewish history responds to his current needs and responsibilities. Scholars and cultural critics should look for “other faces in the same texts, faces that can be more useful for us in re-constructing our own versions of culture and gender practices” (Carnal Israel 21). However, insisting that a particular “face” of a text, sacred or profane, is the real and authentic face and that all other faces are wrong would be considered as apologetics and essentializing. Claiming authenticity can take subtle forms, sometimes by idealizing certain ethnic, religious or gendered qualities and narratives over others or even in the guise of objective science. However, if one admits that one’s cultural dilemmas prompted the selection of a certain face of a text over the other, according to Boyarin, then it is generous cultural critique. I believe the reason Boyarin’s representation of Jewish difference is more “generous” than perhaps the other ones that were recounted in this section is that Boyarin integrates and acknowledges Edward Said’s thesis in Orientalism. The perspective of the English speaking Arab-Christian, so to speak, helps Boyarin to be open to other differences. After establishing that first-century rabbinic Judaism developed under Roman colonial hegemony, Boyarin suggests that he will read his own history, “at once his own and not his own,” as Said reads the practice of Orientalism (Carnal Israel 23 & 229). To this end, Boyarin appeals for a post-Saidean anthropological study of the past that does not place itself in a superior position towards the Other, either judgingly or apologetically: Cultural critique involves then, in my view, precisely the ability to contextually and historically understand practices of the past “other”—who is ourselves—in such a way that that culture can serve us well in constructing our own social practices, providing the richness of belonging to the past without constricting us in forming more liberatory and egalitarian practices in the present. (Carnal Israel 229)  118  Boyarin mentions Said in no more than two sentences; however, we have seen in the previous chapter that what drives Said’s cultural critique of nineteenth-century Europe is precisely the ethical commitments he has made in the present. In fact, Said’s own definition of secular or “worldly” criticism is similar to the critique that Boyarin promotes here. For example, Said appreciates Erich Auerbach as a “worldly critic” for reading the past from his current situatedness as a starting point (Ansatzpunkt). However, nowhere in Auerbach do we read a revelation of a chosen responsibility towards a group or an ideology. Though Said praises Auerbach’s humanism, I think what kept Auerbach from openly declaring worldly responsibility and commitments was exactly his humanist universalism and perhaps even the Pauline understanding that ethnic and religious particularities need to be overcome. Christian valorization of universality and oneness, whether you call it Pauline or Protestant, served a liberatory and egalitarian purpose once, as Boyarin demonstrates. However, it took postcolonialism and overall the anti-humanism of the twentieth century to fully recover the value of particularity and cultural plurality in face of other differences. Now our challenge is to find a hospitable balance between the two.  Conclusion Studies like Boyarin’s openly ground historical research in the materiality of here and now— such as the current interest in the representation of the body—which could give us insights for the study of Islamic texts within cultural and literary studies. Within our cultural and academic discourses, we initially need to acknowledge that apologetics and liberation hermeneutics are not simply misrepresentations of the past, Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, but a necessary step toward  119  a more generous cultural critique that recognizes one’s agency in the present. Boyarin, for example, while acknowledging his subjectivity, does not fall into the “temptation of exemplarity” (Derrida, “Abraham, the Other” 12). He contrasts his own approach to previous claims for Jewish difference on the grounds that he studies the Jews as yet “another tribe” (“Response to Leon Wieseltier” 443).43 Moreover, Boyarin provides us with the insight that ideologies and liberation exegeses are shaped within the unique cultural and social circumstances of the time. Our discourses on Islam, within or outside academia, tend to essentialize today’s reactionary, apologetic or fundamentalist expressions of Islam as Islam’s authentic qualities rather than temporary reactions out of the encounter with the West. It must be acknowledged that radical Islamic identities today are reactions to the encounter with the West and come out of interpretations of the Qur’an that may be considered similar to the “liberation hermeneutics.” Studying these with hospitality from cultural and literary perspectives, instead of essentializing them as the “true” face of Islam, may require something similar to a “postcolonial hermeneutics” of the Qur’an as Sugirtharajah defines it: Postcolonial hermeneutics has to be a pragmatic engagement, an engagement in which praxis is not an extra option or a subsidiary enterprise taken on in the aftermath of judicious deconstruction and reconstruction of texts. Rather, this praxiological involvement is there from the outset of hermeneutical process, informing and contesting the whole procedure. (Postcolonial Reconfigurations 33)  More recent Jewish studies is alert to the danger of exemplarity and the closure to further difference because of the current political situations regarding Islam. Or, perhaps, as the phenomenon of German-Jewish Orientalists at the end of nineteenth century testifies, Judaism has always been Islam’s “secret sharer” within modernity as Edward Said has pointed out in 43  Daniel Boyarin in this article responds to the attacks on “cultural materialism” in Jewish studies and comments that the alternative of preserving Jewish chosenness is similar to the disembodiment and spiritualization of Jews by early Christians.  120  Orientalism (27). Today, Islam has become the test to the Judaeo-Christian limitations of our literary-critical and theoretical practices. Therefore, claiming a difference for or liberating the “Judaic” from the Judaeo-Christian hyphenation now necessarily has to involve a consideration for the singularity of Islam. The examples of modern Jewish studies presented here are preoccupied with ways of expressing Jewish particularity and in general with ways of expressing cultural, ethnic or gendered particularities through the common language of theory. This is not only an exemplary interpretive act but also a proof for the possibility of exemplarity itself. From apologetic to liberatory to generous, these readings of sacred and exegetical texts of the past all have in common a concern for the identity of a certain community and within it a singular individual, namely the author herself or himself. How can one be a Jew singularly in relation to one or more hyphens (woman, homosexual, American, Arab, etc) while expressing the experience of being Jew universally? The generality and particularity of any given identity, individual or communal, will have to appeal to a common language, whether in the form of philosophy, literature or history.44 The singularity of Other can only be experienced in silence and in “secret” (Derrida, On the Name); as soon as it is expressed it will become spatially and temporarily familiar. However, the right for particularity is gained by speaking abundantly instead of succumbing to the violence inherent in silence; thus, literature’s hospitality as “the right to say everything” becomes the language of such an infinite and unexpecting democracy (Derrida, On the Name 28). Just as all these expressions of Jewish difference are directly or indirectly influenced by Derrida’s theories, I believe that Derrida’s deconstructive concepts of exemplarity and hospitality can be directly employed today in the face of Islam. Deconstructive  44  The binaries “singularity/generality” as well as “particularity/universality” are taken from Derrida’s philosophy and will be closely discussed in the next section within the discussion of deconstructive exemplarity.  121  openings towards Islam have certainly already been made, but it is the welcoming of Islam’s difference and particularity in Derrida’s writings that I shall focus on next.  DECONSTRUCTION AS AN OPENING TOWARDS ISLAM This project was undertaken with two broad questions in mind: (1) How to read Islam– everything that is understood under Islam, its culture, its religion, its art, and its scripture—from within the “institution of literature” without disregarding its otherness (Derrida, Acts of Literature 33); in other words, how to read Islam without practising Orientalism as Edward Said defined it: as the defacement and usurpation of the subject matter. (2) How to facilitate the acceptance of Islam within European (post)modernity—its physical borders, its culture, its religion, its art and its scripture—to make it possible to read a hyphen between the European and the Muslim, and to start speaking of the Muslim-European. To answer such broad questions, I have so far explored different ways of interpreting literary and critical history in search for exemplary fissures in the discursive formation of our discipline that make an encounter with Islam as the current Other possible. The case study in Chapter Three of Abraham Geiger’s Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? exemplifies the situation of the GermanJewish intellectual who was facing the rise of a secular modernity in nineteenth-century Europe and negotiated his Jewish identity through an alliance with the sister Abrahamic religion, Islam, while at the same time initiating a Jewish reformation that would significantly influence Judaism’s role within modernity. Before moving to the case study, I will give a brief account of my interpretation of Jacques Derrida’s writings to clarify the theoretical framework of this project.  122  Derrida and Islam Derrida, especially in his later writings, has engaged with religion and reserved a special place for the subject of Islam, though avoiding a direct engagement with it. In fact, the first sign of such avoidance appeared in the essay “How to Avoid Speaking” in 1992: I thus decided not to speak of negativity or of apophatic movements in, for example, the Judaic and Islamic traditions. To leave this immense place empty, … to remain thus on the threshold—was this not the most consistent possible apophasis? Concerning that about which one cannot speak, isn’t it best to remain silent? I let you answer this question. It is always entrusted to the other. (122)  Earlier in the essay, Derrida gives his biographical closeness and “the place of an internal desert” as reason for this avoidance (100). It is clear that the religions Judaism and Islam have a closer relation to Derrida’s own Algerian past, but at the same time it appears that Derrida sets them apart from Christianity because he wants to reveal the Western (Greek, Latin and Christian) orientation of the dominant systems of thought. From 1985 onwards, Derrida’s writings become almost dominated by topics such as Christian mysticism, the three Abrahamic faiths, Abraham himself, the gift, the Bible, revelation, apocalyptic philosophies, Judaism, circumcision and finally his own Algerian-Arab Jewishness. For example, in Of Spirit (1989), Derrida critiques Heidegger for not being able to escape Christian theology or metaphysics as he claims to do and argues that his concepts of “gathering” and “origin-heterogeneous” correspond to the meaning of spirit which “is nothing other–but it’s not nothing—than the origin of Christianity: the spirit of Christianity or the essence of Christianity” (108). It is here that Derrida brings in the voice of the Muslim theologian for the first time: “I’m not certain if the Moslem and some others wouldn’t join in the concert or the hymn. At least all those who in religions and philosophies have spoken  123  of ruah, pneuma, spiritus and, why not Geist” (Of Spirit 111). Derrida tells us that the “hymn” or “concert” responds to Heidegger’s Spirit as “pre-archi-originarity”; furthermore, he points out that this notion may be in agreement with the Judaeo-Christian-Greek, and perhaps with the German notions of spirit; however, he is expressing at least some uncertainty about the Muslim theologian’s response. I see this uncertainty as the first opening towards a philosophical inquiry into the difference of Islam. In this section, I will read Derrida’s essay “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” (1996) as the first explicit example of such inquiry. This essay, which was first given as a talk at a meeting on religion at the Isle of Capri in 1994, also marks the first occasion where Derrida examines “religion” as a singular noun in response to a “historical urgency,” by which is meant a perceived “return of religions” prompted by the recent occurrences of religious fundamentalism (“Faith and Knowledge” 45). First, I will discuss how Derrida’s own Arab-Jewishness prompts the theme of religion and consequently his focus on Islam as the Other within the Judaeo-Christian West. Later, I will analyze the concepts Derrida develops in relation to what he calls the “surge of Islam,” namely “auto-immunity” and the “theologico-political,” and his references to the nineteenth-century “Jewish question.” I will finish by considering how contemporary intellectuals received his treatment of Islam in this essay. Derrida for the first time in this essay treats Islam with an admitted responsiveness to such urgency, whereas in his previous writings all three monotheisms were usually placed under the same heading of the Abrahamic. I think that this crucial recognition has to do both with Derrida’s autobiographical sensitivity towards the violent terrorism in Algeria as well as his  124  sense of an ethical responsibility in the face of current events around the world. The gesture of interpreting Islam as an aporia wedged between an autobiographical necessity and the universal name of “religion” is significant in that it reveals the othering of Islam within our Western interpretative traditions, or to put it differently, the “unthinkability” of Islam within the Western philosophical tradition.45 Derrida’s continuing avoidance of an in-depth engagement with Islam—for example, he never reads an Islamic figure directly or any form of Islamic selfrepresentation in any of his writings—can be seen as an admission of being part of this Western philosophical tradition. Derrida’s essay “Faith and Knowledge,” in that sense, pioneers an encounter between the oldest principles of our human sciences (all disciplines that are based on the act of interpreting texts) and the onto-theological differences of Islam and its interpretative traditions. With the global and autobiographical responsibility that he adopts towards Islam, Derrida is pointing scholarly attention towards the necessary study of these differences “at the limits of faith and knowledge.” This is a call for Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals to represent Islam as a living religion at Capri, or in the field of human sciences in general. Derrida expresses this call by observing that “no Muslim is among us … speaking about these mute witnesses without speaking for them, in place of them, drawing from this all sorts of consequences” (“Faith and Knowledge” 45). Derrida’s avoidance relates to the difficulty of talking about the singular Other, especially when there are so many discursive obstacles that make listening to the Other difficult. Yet this difficulty of listening to the Other is not a case of incommensurability either, since intellectual history is full of fissures and ruptures that constantly change or revise the identities of the Other and the same. I believe, then, that Derrida’s “silence” on Islam is an effect of his responsibility: first, Derrida exemplifies the 45  Referring both to the history of philosophy and to the location of the meeting, Derrida affirms, “[t]o think ‘religion’ is to think the ‘Roman’” (45).  125  deconstructive idea that it is impossible to talk about the singularity of the Other, a position he clearly wants to reserve for Islam at this moment of urgency. Second, Derrida accepts his subject position as a Western philosopher, albeit with his own Algerian-Arab-Jewish past, and thereby offers a self-critique as the most hospitable and responsible response towards this philosophical Other. I think that Derrida legacy succeeds in this act of hospitality, with all the violence implemented in it. Derrida’s is a twofold encounter with Islam: first it is due to the urgency posed by this “radical evil” called fundamentalism; second, it is a personal response to the events and violence happening in Algeria, Derrida’s birthplace. There is only one significant reference to Algeria in “Faith and Knowledge.”46 It is, however, clear from other writings by Derrida, such as the essay “Circumfession” (1991), and Monolingualism and the Other (1998), or the more recent Philosophy in a Time of Terror (2004) and posthumously published interviews in Islam and the West (2008), that he was taking an interest in autobiography and his Algerian-Arab-FrenchJewishness. The constant move in the essay “Faith and Knowledge” between the two levels of addressing the audience at Capri and addressing a general, reading public is an expression of the reflexivity between the personal/particular and the universal/philosophical. The autobiographical element might not be very obvious in this essay, but it is certainly one of the motives for his decision “not [to] avoid religion” any more (“Faith and Knowledge” 101). This twofold acceptance of responsibility inevitably brings Derrida face to face with Islam as the other of the Judaeo-Christian West that he himself is part of as a philosopher, but also with Islam as he is familiar with it through his Arab-Jewish self, having suffered the oppression of the colonizing  46  Derrida talks of the violent “tortures, beheadings and mutilations” taking place in Algeria “in the name of Islam” (88-9).  126  West.47 Thus, he is both host and guest in the face of Islam, yet he will not speak in the name of Islam through the discourse of philosophy. Derrida also projects this “double horizon” of the personal and the global onto the tensions within the Abrahamic religions in “Faith and Knowledge” (78). Part of the essay groups Judaism with Islam, and yet, Judaism is also occasionally placed on the side of the dominant world culture.48 Islam preserves its enigmatic, separate place consistently throughout the essay. At first, Islam is evoked with a treatment of the “return of religion.” The most important point that Derrida makes on religion and about the “surge of Islam” (58) in this essay is that this phenomenon cannot be separated from the conditions of today, and hence that it does not really constitute a “return” but a case of “auto-immunity”: the said “return of the religious,” which is to say the spread of a complex and overdetermined phenomenon, is not a simple return, for its globality and its figures (teletechno-media-scientific, capitalistic and politico-economic) remain original and unprecedented. (“Faith and Knowledge” 78) The “figures” that Derrida refers to here, commonly classified as secular, carry a radical understanding of religion within themselves, similar to the Freudian concept of the “death-drive” (90). Accordingly, secularism’s insistence on the strict separation of the theological from the political and the “tele-techno-scientific” leads to the politicizing of religion and vice versa, that is, either to religious fundamentalism or to covert religiosity under the guise of “globality” (79). Derrida compares this phenomenon to the medical condition of auto-immunity disorder (the most 47  In an interview titled “This Strange Institution Called Literature,” from Acts of Literature, Derrida comments on the colonial oppression during his childhood: “[b]eing Jewish and a victim of anti-Semitism didn’t spare one the anti-Arab racism I felt everywhere around me, in manifest or latent form” (Acts of Literature 39). 48 See for example Derrida’s comment in an interview with Richard Kearney: “In my short essay ‘Faith and Knowledge,’ I ask the question of Islam in relation to other religions. We have the Judaeo-Christian couple as opposed to Islam, but, on the other hand, we have the Judaeo-Islamic couple as opposed to Christianity” (Gratton, Manoussakis, and Kearney 23).  127  well known form of which is AIDS), whereby an organism attacks its own immune system, leading to self-destruction. Every being with carefully drawn borders, such as an autonomous self, a sovereign nation or a universalized God, carries its own destruction within itself. Autoimmunity then becomes another metaphor for the act of deconstruction whereby an intact and self-contained system, in this case secular science and technology, is doomed to give way to its opposite, religious fundamentalism, since this duality is always already implemented at its origin. By the same token, it was religion that bore secularism in the first place since every notion comes out of the binary relation to its opposite and not from an originary essence: “It is the terrifying but fatal logic of the auto-immunity of the unscathed that will always associate Science and Religion” (“Faith and Knowledge” 80). Derrida calls this principle in Of Spirit the “origin-heterogeneous,” where the origin is always already heterogeneous and dual (107). Similarly, there is never an originary truth but instead a testimony to truth, faith and perjury always already at the origin. Hence the origin is a “prosthesis” rather than a thing in itself (Monolingualism). Therefore, according to Derrida, the view that secularism and science will supersede religion only leads to a more radical return of religion, according to a logic similar to Freud’s theory on the return of the repressed (“repetition compulsion”) (“Faith and Knowledge” 89-90). Derrida, in his usual manner, either disbands concepts or re-engages commonly accepted oppositions (such as religion and science) through the use of metaphors such as auto-immunity, without providing a resolution. However, a fleeting reference to the “Jewish question” is worth exploring in order to move beyond Derrida’s deconstructive impulse. What is being repeated in the return of religion or at least what “finds itself in close proximity with” it—and the reference to Freud shortly after is not coincidental—is the “interminable Jewish question”:  128  Whether it is “exemplary” or not, the Jewish question continues to be a rather good example (sample, particular case) for future elaboration of this demographic-religious problematic. (“Faith and Knowledge” 90, Derrida's emphasis).  A case in European history that perfectly testifies to the blurring of the binaries science and religion, politics and theology is the nineteenth-century “Jewish question,” or more correctly expressed, the Jewish emancipation struggle in Europe. Derrida’s hyphenation in the phrase “demographic-religious problematic” is a strategy that calls for a historical-critical perspective. First of all, Derrida invites us to acknowledge the singularity and the unrepeatability of a historical event such as the “Jewish question,” as a case that is nonetheless open to future possibilities, in as much as it provides a common language for the current situation of the socalled “surge of Islam.” This, as we will see shortly, is an example of deconstructive exemplarity. Second, Derrida draws attention to the nineteenth-century context of this problematic, namely, the general proliferation of theories on universality (including a concept of religion within the limits of reason alone, and the strict separation of faith and knowledge) on the one hand, and on the other hand the demographic problem of drawing the perfect borders for a nation state. Obviously, the Jewish presence stretches within and across these European borders in the nineteenth century, both religious and demographic. In fact, Derrida claims that neither religion nor demography takes precedence but that both—or more specifically their relationality—are at the origin of the so-called “Jewish question.” Thus, the “future elaborations” of this problematic (he clearly refers to the “surge of Islam,” or what we may call the “Muslim question”) need to be perceived in a similar way (“Faith and Knowledge” 46). The matter of Europe facing Islam today is neither strictly a demographic problem (Muslim minorities within, war against terrorism in the Middle East, inclusion of a Muslim country in the European Union)  129  nor strictly a religious problem regarding Islam’s theological differences with the Christian heritage of Europe. It is rather the aporia between the political and the theological, a space that requires a historical, theological and sociological approach at once. Gil Anidjar offers a similar reading of Derrida’s focus on the “theologico-political” in The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (2003). Anidjar draws attention to the constructed identities of the “Jew” and the “Arab” as enemies throughout the intellectual history of Europe and claims that the “idea” of a secular and democratic Europe would not have existed without the theological and political enemies of “both the Jew and the Arab” respectively (xxv).49 Such an argument suggests that the secularization of Europe, meaning the separation of church and state and of the theological from the political, was accompanied by the process—based on the logic of auto-immunity—whereby religious radicalism was assigned to the political enemy in the East. Anidjar’s argument at times appears slightly paradoxical. At one point, he claims that Europe constructs the Jew as the theological enemy and the Arab as “internal exteriority” of the political enemy and offers Derrida’s concept of the theologico-political to overcome such constructions (The Jew, the Arab xxi & xxii; Derrida and Anidjar 5). However, the symbiotic relation of Orientalism and anti-Semitism is also proof that these poles are already conflated and blurred with the rise of secularism.50 After all, it is in nineteenth-century scholarship that Jews become  49  This claim reminds us of Amos Funkenstein’s thesis mentioned in the previous section on the “confrontational relation” between Christianity and Judaism, in comparison with which the relations of these two to Islam are more external or impartial. I think that Anidjar is basically making the same observation, except he is drawing attention to another confrontation between Judaism and Islam constructed artificially by modern, Eurocentric discourses leading to today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which I believe is the current urgency that Anidjar’s book is responding to. 50 The paradoxical and synchronic split and conflation of the theological and the political within secularism is endorsed by Anidjar when, for example, he states in an interview that “with ‘secularization,’ more or less, Islam became a ‘world-religion’” (Shaikh 229). The same subject is taken on in detail in Anidjar’s subsequent work Semites: Race, Religion, Literature (2008) in the section titled “The Semitic Hypothesis (Religion’s Last Word)” (13-38).  130  an oriental race and the Arabs become the monotheistic Semites. We might assume that Anidjar intends this paradox since the general gesture of the book is to repeat the deconstructive impulse of disbanding, complicating, or conflating dichotomies in the fashion of Derrida. Although the book contains some detailed case studies (such as Hegel’s, Freud’s, and Franz Rosenweig’s discussions of Islam), it has no real “thesis” in the conventional sense, though this does not at all deflect from its theoretical force. Anidjar’s observation that anti-Semitism and Orientalism went hand in hand in the nineteenth century is likewise the basis of the present project, the aim of which is to offer a deconstructive reading of this past via the case of the German-Jewish Orientalist. To summarize thus far, Derrida’s avoidance of a direct engagement with Islam suggests both an autobiographical exposure and a professional caution. This means that he perceives the “surge of Islam” through his own Arab-Jewish urgencies—i.e. the violence in Algeria— and through the complex history of Judaism’s relation to Europe. The essay on “Faith and Knowledge” was written before September 11, 2001, after which Derrida was asked to talk specifically about Islam and terrorism with increasing frequency.51 However, the foundations of concepts such as auto-immunity, the theologico-political and tele-techno-science, which Derrida often repeats when discussing the topic of Islamic terrorism, were laid in the earlier essay. Derrida’s avoidance also hints at an invitation eventually to talk about Islam abundantly. To understand this point better we need to look at how Derrida differentiates Judaism and Islam from Christianity, namely through their relation to a living god, which puts them both in a problematic relation with the Christian heritage of Enlightenment modernity: 51  Derrida before his death commented on the events of 9/11 in books such as, Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida by Giovanna Borradori and Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida by Mustapha Chérif.  131  Judaism and Islam would thus be the last monotheisms to revolt against everything that, in the Christianizing of our world, signifies the death of God, death in God, two non-pagan monotheisms that do not accept death any more than multiplicity in God (the Passion, the Trinity, etc.), two monotheisms still alien enough at the heart of Graeco-Christian, Pagano-Christian Europe, alienating themselves from Europe that signifies the death of God, by recalling at all costs that ‘monotheism’ signifies no less faith in the One, and in the living One, than belief in a single God. (“Faith and Knowledge” 51)  Derrida, who previously explored the Judaeo-Christian hyphen in the essay, now ventures to draw attention to another possible allegiance, namely the one between Judaism and Islam. His emphasis on the two “non-pagan monotheisms” is significant in that it recalls Geiger’s differentiation of Islam and Judaism from Christianity in Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen? based on their insistence on a single god—just as Abraham the prophet, according to midrashic sources and the Qur’an, fights idolatry and multiplicity for the first time in biblical history, Muhammad fights against the polytheism of the Arab tribes (see below, Chapter Three/3). It is therefore worthwhile reading this passage closely as a testimony to the temporality and contingency of hyphenated relations between the three monotheisms, or any hyphenation for that matter. With the “death of God,” Derrida might be referring to Kant’s valorization of onto-theology over religious experience and revelation,52 or directly to Nietzsche’s famous statement, which was itself an observation on the transcendental philosophies of the Enlightenment. However, it is also a comment on how deeply embedded the death and the multiplicity of god is in Western metaphysics. Thus a curious question arises: Is Derrida hinting at a metaphysical incommensurability between Judaeo-Islamic monotheism and Christianity? Does Derrida’s avoidance of a closer engagement with Islam mean that one cannot escape Orientalism when talking about Islam from within the Western intellectual tradition? I 52  In Critique of Pure Reason (1791), Chapter III, Section 7 and in Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1793), “Preface to the First Edition.”  132  rather think that Derrida, by switching from one hyphenation (Judaeo-Christian) to another (Judaeo-Islamic) instantaneously, wants to exemplify that hyphenations or headings, such as “monotheisms” or “Abrahamic religions,” remain aporias only to be given meanings at moments of confrontation and decision, later to be overcome by another decision responding to another urgency or subjectivity. Tensions and differences, even metaphysically fundamental ones like the death of god, are decided at the moment of confrontation between two opposing subjectivities. For instance, the auspicious heading of Abrahamic monotheism that Geiger constructs for Islam and Judaism, as we will see, comes out of his reaction to Christian hegemony and anti-Semitism in the biblical scholarship and the society of his time. Therefore, Derrida’s view of Islam’s radical difference within Western discourses, I suggest, is not of an enduring incommensurability53 but rather of a historical and singular instance created by the meeting of tele-techno-science and the theologico-political. Rather than trying to preserve Islam’s radical difference and resistance, Derrida calls for an “intellectual and philosophical memory [that will] rediscover that grafting, that reciprocal fertilization of the Greek, the Arab and the Jew” (Chérif and Derrida 39). My point about Derrida’s rejection of the incommensurability idea can be best demonstrated by contrast with an argument of Ian Almond, who in his book The New Orientalists argues that “Western” philosophers and writers in the line of postmodernism, among them Nietzsche, Foucault, Baudrillard, Žižek, Borges, Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie, as 53  Aziz Al-Azmeh, for example, critiques postmodernism—and indirectly Derrida—for promoting such an incommensurability from a Muslim intellectual’s perspective when he comments that, “the late capitalist, postmodern emphasis on self-referentiality and self-representation, the drift towards conceiving difference as incommensurability, the cognitive nihilism associated with post-modernism, the dissolution of objects of ethnographic study into ‘voices’: all this, to my mind, leads to ejecting the tools of the historical and social sciences implicitly, but in most cases inadvertently and unreflectively, in favour of an irrationalist and anti-historicist sympathetic sociology of singularity” (29).  133  well as Derrida, represent Islam as the “tout autre [entirely other] of modernity in their own struggle against it,” which then, as the title suggests, constitutes a new form of Orientalism (196). I think Almond has a very valid argument. Indeed what constitutes Orientalism is not only disparaging representations of the Islamic East or the commodification of it as the exotic. As the case of the German-Jewish Orientalist testifies, Islam was also represented in ways intended to facilitate serious social and political criticism within various European settings. However, Almond’s conclusion that the postmodern approbation of Islam, especially when it is radically and violently resisting Western modernization, homogenizes and misrepresents Islam is an unjust claim, at least in the case of Derrida.54 According to the logic of selection, Edward Said himself should have qualified as a “new Orientalist.” Claiming that postmodern representations of Islam do not escape the “unspoken centre, an unarticulated privilege, the tacit and unintrusive reaffirmation of a very European vocabulary,” in other words Eurocentrism, makes Almond’s conclusions in regards to Western intellectual traditions very solipsistic (Almond 202). And from an Islamic perspective, this claim leads to a very pessimistic conclusion that there is no language possible for asserting Muslim identity within the West, from which follows that the only course remaining is physical violence and radicalism. That said, Almond’s insights from Muslim thinkers, particularly the way they either integrate or reject postmodernism, are valuable. The fact that Derrida in “Faith and Knowledge” calls for speaking “in the name of Islam” as opposed to being silent about is consistent with Derrida’s position that first-hand testimony 54  Although Almond’s book is truly informative and a pleasure to read, I found that his overall argument about New Orientalism only partially convinces in the chapters about Foucault and Baudrillard, where he alleges that Foucault’s writings on Tunisia and Iran inadvertently assign a homogeneous quality to Islam apparently operative in both locales and that Baudrillard uses Islamic tropes rhetorically in order to critique capitalist ideologies. However, for the rest of the figures mentioned, Islam is represented so heterogeneously and in such a self-conscious manner (especially the Islam in the works of the novelists Borges, Pamuk and in Rushdie) as to defeat Orientalism rather than contributing to it.  134  does not have precedence over a second-hand one since origin is already a supplement to meaning. Thus, I suggest that Derrida in remarking that “there is no Muslim among us” does not lament the absence of an “authentic” Muslim thinker. The language that the Muslim thinker would use, if he or she were present in Capri, would have been always already the language of the Other—in this specific case, the discourse of Western philosophy. Besides, the reason Almond himself includes postmodern Muslim thinkers, such as Aziz Al-Azmeh, Bobby Sayyid, and Akbar S. Ahmed (all currently working within Western institutions), is because he can relate to them on a discursive level. A further point is that Almond interprets Derrida’s treatment of Islam in “Faith and Knowledge” as “paradoxical” and full of “mixed messages” (58). On the one hand, he admits that such “semantic emptying” might be designed to preserve Islam as the “if” (rather than tout autre) of Derrida’s own subjectivity and gives an apt quotation from Derrida about the need for “constant interruptions … for glimpsing the otherness of the Other through the broken ruins of one’s constructions” (59-61).55 On the other hand, Almond blames Derrida for “de-essentializing Islam” and approvingly evokes Lambropolous’s thesis in The Rise of Eurocentrism, which argues that Derrida’s use of Islam as an empty “mirage” to talk about the West affirms “Protestant modernity” and therefore constitutes Eurocentrism (61). I think that Derrida’s call for Muslim scholars and his conscious avoidance of speaking for Islam is in fact an invitation to the audience “to speak for them, in place of them,” which ironically is exactly what Ian Almond is doing (to clarify, anybody with a less Anglo-Saxon name would have been doing just the same).  55  The passage runs as follows: “By interrupting the weaving of our language and then by weaving together the interruptions themselves, another language comes to disturb the first one…Another text, the text of the other, arrives in silence with a more or less regular cadence, without ever appearing in its original language, to dislodge the language of translation” (Derrida, Between the Blinds 414).  135  Grand claims of Eurocentrism, such as Almond’s and Lambropoulos’s, almost always assume that Europe, as the host, is never affected by the various differences it hosts within itself and that in effect it remains unchanged. For these scholars, there are only two ways of talking about Islam’s difference: either by assimilating into the more powerful host discourse or by attempting to represent a purified or authentic version of the disadvantaged guest’s identity. Once we start reading deconstruction as hospitality and as the welcoming of the Other we may be able to overcome this postmodern impasse in face of Islam. To his credit, Almond in his conclusion observes that Islam in postmodern theory tends to be represented as “a purely anthropological phenomenon, a cultural manifestation, an object of primarily material significance,” while the fact that Islam is also a “transcendental belief-system no different metaphysically from that of Christianity or Judaism” is usually forgotten (196). I agree that the theological diversities within Judaism, Christianity or Islam are usually overlooked in favour of emphasizing their difference from each other. However, the need to talk of difference has risen from the suppressive effects of Enlightenment universalism and still has a certain validity when it comes to equitable representation. The imperative here is, following Derrida’s call, to talk at the limits of reason rather than within it, in order to perceive faith as not only a discursive limit but as a possibility. As Derrida suggests: The surge […] of ‘Islam’ will be neither understood nor answered as long as the exterior and interior of this borderline place have not been called into question; as long as one settles for an internal explanation (interior to the story of faith, or religion, of languages or cultures as such), as long as one does not define the passageway between the interior and all the apparently exterior dimensions (technoscientific, telebiotechnological, which is to say also political and socioeconomic etc). (“Faith and Knowledge” 58)  136  I would like to conclude this section by taking the above passage as a call for a “worlded criticism”—as suggested by Said and exemplified by Daniel Boyarin’s “generous critique” in the preceding section. This passage also points to the inevitability of faith (secret, passion, aporia) at the heart of every testimony, including science, politics and law, literary criticism and literature. What I see as a problem for literary criticism in regard to scriptural hermeneutics is that it typically either focuses too much on politics (“external explanation”) when it comes to the Qur’an, as if Islam has no theological relevance to either Christianity or Judaism, or too much on theology (“internal explanation”), particularly when it comes to the Bible. The theologicopolitical approach as the third way can be best accommodated from a literary critical perspective that combines scriptural interpretation with postcolonial or poststructuralist theories. This would mean going beyond Said’s reversal of the Islam-and-West dichotomy, and instead reading the past with hospitality in order “to deconstruct the European intellectual construct of Islam” (Chérif and Derrida 38). I therefore see Abraham Geiger’s gesture of including Islam as part of a biblical tradition, however carefully and rhetorically enshrined in objective language, as an important shift in Western intellectual history. Geiger’s life and legacy prove that it is at the limits of faith and knowledge that religious reform takes place. As we have seen, talking about and for Islam abundantly is today equal to exploring the “unthoughts” of Western scholarship and therefore parallel to the function of deconstruction.56 Looking at Islam from within literary criticism might entail searching out subjects that are similar to current literary interests or privileging certain narratives over others. As Jonathan Boyarin wittily points out, if done with righteousness, this might amount to a “hegemony of  56  This argument was also put forward by the Franco-Maghrebian intellectual Mohammed Arkoun, particularly in his book The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought (2002).  137  empathy” (86).57 However, discursively seeking out similarities to talk about the Other, or to realize that “the Other is not that other” after all, is inevitable because deconstructive exemplarity is the only way of speaking about the singularity of the Other (J. Boyarin 77). The singularity of the Other can only be expressed through the language of the familiar. Deconstructive hospitality, on the other hand, asks us to be aware of the fact that one can never genuinely be hospitable but that we may still strive for an opening towards differences yet unexplored. This openness will guarantee not a democracy that is already established but a “democracy to come” (Derrida, Specters of Marx 64-5). I now would like to proceed to explaining what exactly I understand by deconstructive exemplarity and hospitality.  Deconstructive Exemplarity and Hospitality To explain the deconstructive principles of exemplarity and hospitality, we need to look at some metaphors that Derrida uses—and what else is metaphor itself but an instance of exemplarity? For this, I will first look at the metaphor of “heading” in Derrida’s 1992 essay “The Other Heading: Memories, Responses, and Responsibilities,”58 and then explain the use of the metaphor “psyche” in his essay “Interpretations at War: Kant, the Jew, the German” (1991). It will become apparent that “exemplarity” is a philosophical paradigm described by Derrida, while “hospitality”—originally borrowed from the ethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas—is the 57  Boyarin comments on the difficulty of expressing “the paradoxical linkage between shared humanity and cultural Otherness,” but does not rule out empathy as a possibility. The example of hegemonic empathy Boyarin gives from the docudrama Holocaust is quite demonstrative and therefore worth mentioning. The docudrama follows the life of “a middle-class, German speaking [Jewish] nuclear family” who end up in Nazi concentration camps. Boyarin comments that such representations of similar difference “do not really expand the space of the Other” (86). 58 The title of the book, The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Europe, which covers a preface titled “TODAY” and another essay titled “Call it a Day for Democracy,” reflects more accurately the journalistic and political quality of the essay.  138  intellectual awareness of one’s own exemplarity act of taking responsibility for it. To explain this later point better I will look at the metaphoric heading of “Abrahamic” in Derrida’s essay “Hostipitality” (1997) and his book The Gift of Death (1992). Europe’s other heading and hospitality Derrida in “The Other Heading,” starts by evoking Francois Mitterand’s speech in which the French president speaks about a Europe that is “returning in its history and its geography like one who is returning home” (The Other Heading 9). Derrida begins by asking what this “home” might be, what it was in the past and what it is expected to be; what is specific to European identity, or how can Europe culturally be identified? However, instead of offering answers to these questions, Derrida leads us into the contingency and temporality of cultural identity and suggests that at the core of any identity is “a difference at once internal and irreducible to the ‘at home (with itself)’” (The Other Heading 9). Therefore, for example, when one asserts that Europe is responsible towards its others, one assumes that there is a Europe within itself. By contrast, Derrida thinks that European responsibility starts with the acknowledgement that its identity is not a coherent entity posed against “others” but that the Other is constitutive of European identity itself. The essay’s argument in general is that Europe’s responsibility lies within this exemplary function of the limitless and unexpected openness towards the Other. “The Other Heading” was first published as an article in newspapers in 1990 in major European centres such as Frankfurt, Paris, Turin, and Madrid. Derrida himself refers to this journalistic background in a preface titled “TODAY,” which indicates that it was written with such a responsibility in mind. More than just an explanatory preface, it becomes apparent that the title “TODAY” is closely related to Derrida’s definition of European responsibility. Derrida  139  draws our attention to the current events in Europe at the time the essay was written: the bicentennial of the French revolution, the fall of the Berlin wall the year before, the start of the first Gulf War two months earlier, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which led to debates about the expansion of the European Union to the former communist countries. In the background, there was also an increasing anxiety, particularly in France and Germany, about a certain “foreigner problem.” All of these events, with more or less emphasis, are mentioned in the essay. The journalistic and politically responsive character of the essay, together with a motivation to make philosophical statements about the cultural identity and future of Europe, inform Derrida’s historical-critical perspective on the previously constructed headings for a European identity, such as those of Edmund Husserl, Karl Marx and Paul Valéry. This historicalcritical grounding, I think, is at the core of exemplarity. To demonstrate this, I will briefly summarize how Derrida evokes the exemplary date marked in Paul Valéry’s historical writings about Europe’s identity that are “bear[ing] the marks of an urgency, …or imminence,” namely that of the advent of the World War II (The Other Heading 61). A common feature in Derrida’s political writings is that he takes an unlikely or controversial work of a literary or philosophical figure and contextualizes it as a rhetorical strategy.59 For example, Derrida notes that in Valéry’s work The Freedom of Spirit, published in 1939, the tremors of a partitioning Europe and the imminence of its destruction were felt and that it is precisely at such a date that Valéry makes an appeal for a unified European spirit. To counter the existing east-central-west alliances and conflicts within Europe, Valéry offers, as a subject from the Mediterranean coast of France, a Mediterranean spirit as a current “heading” for  59  Derrida is intentionally choosing a political work of Valéry’s, less well known than his poetry (see also Naas in The Other Heading xxiv).  140  Europe. Derrida refers to Valéry’s History and Politics (1939) and quotes: “[T]he Mediterranean has been a veritable machine for making civilization. And in creating trade, it necessarily created freedom of the spirit. On the shores of the Mediterranean, then, spirit, culture, and trade are found together” (Valéry in Derrida, The Other Heading 64, Derrida's emphasis). What Derrida reads in Valéry’s appeal to the Mediterranean is the expression of the particularity of European identity through universal paradigms, such as “spirit, capital, and culture.” On the one hand, Derrida appeals to the singularity of Valéry’s “TODAY,” where the threat of losing Europe’s function as a capital example was imminent in violent claims for particularity, such as those of Nazism or communism. On the other hand, Derrida also draws attention to the singularity of his own “TODAY,” where Valéry’s appeal seems violent in its hegemonic and capitalist Eurocentrism for appealing to a European “spirit, culture, and trade.” Derrida does not simply point out the rhetorical strategy in Valéry’s utterance of a heading for Europe such as that of Mediterranean. He also wants us to see philosophical language in the making, and how such language relates to the singularity of a cultural identity and at the same time appeals to a general language. Derrida thus exemplifies the principle of exemplarity, as noted by Michael Naas when he calls the essay “an exemplary reading of the politics of example” and states that for Derrida “the question of politics … is always a question of situation and context” (The Other Heading xxiii). To add my own metaphor from geometry, Derrida suggests that a certain “heading” for a cultural identity, European or other, is the product of three spatial and temporal vectors, which make each heading unique. The first one is the unrepeatable and irreplaceable particularity of the uttering subject, which in the case of Valéry is Mediterranean, French, male; particularities that are usually if not always in a hyphenated relation. The second vector marks the singularity of the date, TODAY, usually underlined by the  141  imminence or urgency of a war. The third vector is constituted by the unavoidable appeal to a universal language current at the time. The last vector, I would emphasize, is unavoidable and necessary for Derrida’s understanding of political ethics, even though he is popularly known as the philosopher of particularity and difference. And yet, Derrida’s understanding of universality does not inscribe permanence or centralization but takes the risk of being overcome and overturned. As Giovanna Borradori comments, “[f]ar from curtailing the demand for universal justice and freedom, deconstruction renews it infinitely” (17). I suggest that reading the various headings and constructions of European identities of the past through these vectors constitutes what Derrida calls a “deconstructive genealogy” (The Other Heading 77). Hospitality is a welcoming of that which cannot be prescribed; it is a heading for an identity that has not been explored and one that is not yet expected. This is what Derrida has to say about the need for headings: It is necessary to make ourselves the guardians of an idea of Europe, of a difference of Europe, but of a Europe that consists precisely in not closing itself off in its own identity and in advancing itself in an exemplary way toward what it is not, toward the other heading or the heading of the other, which would be the beyond of this modern tradition, another border structure, another shore. (Derrida, The Other Heading 29) A hospitable reading of identity constructions in the past means reading them as rhetorical acts that assume responsibility in the face of their current urgencies but that create a violence in the face of other differences. Thus, every heading, such as Valéry’s Mediterranean and Geiger’s Abrahamic, however temporary, will inevitably contain elements of violence as well as hospitality. Besides employing “heading” in the sense of a title or a “chapter heading …[cap],” Derrida also makes use of it as a metaphor taken from the “language of air and sea navigation” to  142  tease out the meaning of it in verb form as “heading” towards a destination (The Other Heading 13). While for Derrida this navigational sense of “heading” refers to an “end, the telos of an oriented, calculated, deliberate, ordered movement,” his addition of the prefix “the other” refers to what is to come, and to that “before which we must respond, which we must remember” (145). Derrida’s use of the title “the other heading” resembles his use of the phrase “messianic without messianism,” which he elaborates later in Spectres of Marx as the non-religious, nonoriginary and non-eschatological “coming of the other, the absolute and unpredictable singularity of the arrivant as justice” (28). Moreover, Derrida also draws attention to the “other of the heading,” meaning the identities, singularities and differences that are inevitably suppressed with every constructed heading. This tendency to be inclusive and yet with an eye for what will always remain outside and excluded explains Derrida’s attempt to move the discussions about European identity “beyond all the exhausted programs of Eurocentrism and anti-Eurocentrism” and towards a more hospitable understanding (The Other Heading 12-3). In short, Derrida wants to draw attention to the fact that European identity is not an unchanging entity hegemonizing its Others but an ongoing dialogue that integrates differences within and changes at every fold of history. Since the vectors of exemplarity likewise apply to Derrida, I see his insistence on the opening of European identity to other differences as his response to the so-called “foreigner problem” and to the escalating attempts to close off European identity. The “Jewish question”—a designation which, like “problem,” is another attempt to exteriorize a difference within Europe— again lurks behind Derrida’s “the other heading,” particularly when he stresses that responding to today’s urgencies means “remembering” (15). Derrida’s Jewishness asserts itself when he refers to the double meaning of “hospitality” as the laws of European citizenship and immigration,  143  which Derrida in Of Hospitality traces to Kant’s definition of “universal hospitality” in the essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch” (1795). Instead of this Enlightenment understanding of hospitality, Derrida prefers an open-ended and messianic version of hospitality, one that does not expect a perpetual peace to actually happen but one that preserves this goal as the if (Of Hospitality 71). The reference in “The Other Heading” to the Enlightenment sense of hospitality in relation to the Jewish question is clearly intentional since the former solidified around the same time as the “Jewish question” was posed. This Enlightenment version of hospitality, usually requiring the integration or even assimilation of the guest, still provides the legal language today for the relation between the “national host” on the one hand and the “foreigner” as guest on the other. Derrida, however, defines European responsibility as a “duty [that] dictates welcoming foreigners in order not to integrate them but to recognize and accept their alterity: two concepts of hospitality that today divide our European and national consciousnesses” (The Other Heading 77). Let us recap by applying the metaphor of vectors to my own project: What is my responsibility today? The first vector dictates that I disclose my own subject position, which is never one thing but a set of adjectives in endless and sometimes imbalanced hyphenated constructions, such as, Oriental, German, Canadian, female, literary critic. The second vector consists of the urgencies TODAY. On the one hand, there is the war between the West (North America and Europe) and the violent terrorism conducted in the name of Islam, a war that implicates territories where Muslims outside the West live. On the other hand, we have the question of integrating Islam into Europe as posed by the challenge of Turkey’s possible membership in the EU and the presence of Muslim minorities within Europe as the seemingly unassimilable religious “others” within. The third vector is the universal language I chose to  144  speak through, namely, the understanding of a hospitable (as opposed to tolerant)60 multiculturalism with the aim to de-territorialize and make heterogeneous the cultural and religious differences we build our communities on; and language of literature as “the right to say everything” (Derrida, On the Name 28). The Jewish-German intellectual Psyche Since Jonathan Boyarin wrote about European Jewry as the “Other Within” in 1992, the subject of the Jewish diaspora in Europe, especially the Jewish emancipation movement of the nineteenth century, has come to the attention of postcolonial theorists as an exemplary case of the paradoxes involved in the marginalization and assimilation of ethno-religious minorities in the new nation states of Europe. Complementary to the postcolonialist perspective is Dana Hollander’s philosophical approach in Exemplarity and Chosenness, which elaborates on the accommodation of the particular within the philosophical-universal and on the construction of the exemplary or chosen nation through the discourse of philosophy. I start by mentioning these works by Jonathan Boyarin and Dana Hollander because they, in a Derridean vein, emphasize a reciprocal process of identity formation of both gentile Europe and the minority Jews. Both complicate the relation between the host and the guest in an ethics of hospitality, terms that become most suspicious especially in the case of European Jewry since the Jewish presence in Europe is almost as old as Europe itself. These works remind us that notions such as assimilation, separation, acculturation, and integration were invented during the process of modern nation-building and still prevail in today’s globalized world. Complicating 60  I make this distinction based on Derrida’s brief “historical genealogy of the concept of tolerance,” where he remarks that tolerance is “a form of Christian charity” and “marked by the religious war between …Christians and non-Christians” and therefore the “opposite of hospitality,…[o]r at least its limit” (Borradori, Derrida, and Habermas 126-7).  145  these terms when talking about minorities in Europe—Jewish, Muslim or other—starts with complicating the identities of the host and the guest. This first of all requires that we change the way we perceive hyphenated identities, such as German-Jewish or European-Muslim, that are usually not balanced in terms of power. The deconstructive exemplarity that is exemplified in Derrida’s essay “Interpretations at War” focuses on the function of hyphens in identity constructions and assertions. More specifically, it cautions us against privileging one side of the hyphen, and favours fully partaking of the particularity of each side. According to Derrida, such “disjunctive-conjunctions” (“Interpretations at War” 143) in history between peoples and cultures can never find closure or be decided on except at the instance of an “absolute decision” which is “the experience of the very ordeal of the undecidable” and therefore the very act of responsibility (The Gift of Death 5). What remains to be done for literary studies is to discursively engage in this type of conjecture with the objective of responsible interpretation— perhaps a sort of late-postcolonialism—when reading Islam. This would be an Islam which is no longer the singular Other that is far away, in a warmer climate then ours and in a war zone, but the other Other within Europe and within the wider “West,” from which I, and other critics here mentioned are writing, as part of and in interaction with the European psyche. Before I say more about this metaphor of psyche—soul, or ruah in Hebrew and ruh in Arabic—I need to briefly explain why the late nineteenth century German-Jewish case is especially exemplary (though a more detailed contextualization will appear in the following chapter.) While the nineteenth century witnessed the founding of civil society-based nation states throughout Western Europe, the Enlightenment paradigms of universal human nature on the one hand and cultural particularity and cosmopolitanism on the other became clashing values in the integration of Jewish populations into these nation states. For a Germany that was exploring an  146  anti-Napoleonic German nationalism with the goal of unifying all German states, the integration process constituted an Enlightenment paradox juxtaposing German cultural particularities to the Jewish ones. The Jewish emancipation was completed in the German lands with the unification in 1871—later to be reversed in 1933 by the National Socialists— and soon after German citizenship and state hospitality laws were defined in the “Nationality Law of the German Empire and States” (Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz - RuStAG) of 1913. These laws are now in the process of being redefined and are subject to heated debates in Germany. The most controversial parts of these laws relate to citizenship as determined by jus sanguinis (“the right of blood”) and the prohibition of dual citizenship. 61 It is interesting to observe how the relation between the Jewish and the gentile population in Germany is constantly redefined by the granting and withholding of rights, emancipation on the one hand and citizenship by blood on the other. One thing is worth noting: it was not only this internal affair that shaped the new German nation and its laws, but also Germany’s anti-French and anti- imperialist politics and the opposition to everything that came with the French brand of liberalization, including Jewish emancipation. This background of German-Jewish history in the nineteenth century becomes significant for Derrida’s reading of Hermann Cohen’s Deutschtum und Judentum (1915) in the essay “Interpretations at War.” Although the second half of the essay is dedicated to Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption —and Rosenzweig’s relation to Cohen is clearly quite significant for Derrida’s argument in the essay—I will only focus on Derrida’s interpretation of 61  For a detailed study of the process that formed France and Germany’s citizenship laws and how they today influence the ethnic differences within each country, see Roger Brubaker’s Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany and Saskia Sassen’s Guests and Aliens, Chapter 4. The 1913 Nationality Law was only modified in January 2000 to add jus soli (citizenship by territory of birthplace); however, the law bears some restrictions and dual citizenship is still not fully permissible in Germany.  147  Cohen’s text here. 62 For Derri